Outside.In’s Top 10 Bloggiest Neighborhoods was very interesting today. How inspiring to learn about the level of online community going on in these neighborhoods (including some former stomping grounds of mine!). I wonder how our little Five Sisters compares? I’d love to see the data. (Does anyone know if that’s available? I couldn’t find it.)
The Five Sisters (Burlington, VT) was named a top ten neighborhood in the United States in 2006 and many residents credit Front Porch Forum, a kind of neighborhood blog (to stretch the term), for contributing to the incredible sense of community here.
The Five Sisters forum has an astounding 340 members out of the 350-household neighborhood. Another 20 local officials (city councilors, state reps., school commissioners, police lieutenant, etc.) participate. In the past six months, 50% of the members have written… 630 postings total. Since these folks are actual nearby neighbors, a vast majority of the follow up occurs offline on the sidewalk or over the fence (that’s the point!). In this model, only residents of the neighborhood may read and write postings… it’s all about helping neighbors connect and foster community within the neighborhood.
The Five Sisters is the flagship of 130 contiguous neighborhood forums covering all of metro-Burlington and hosted by Front Porch Forum. In its first six months, about 20% of Burlington has subscribed to this free community-building service. Everyday folks, not just heavy web users, are making wonderful use of it. Front Porch Forum garnered a couple more community-leader awards last month and will be featured at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City on May 18, 2007.