Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Christian Science Monitor: Maybe FPF better than good fences

Posted on Friday, March 12, 2010 by 1 comment

Carrie Leber writes on The Christian Science Monitor website about the challenges of living with difficult neighbors.  Her bottom line…

Maybe Internet forums, not fences, are what make good neighbors.

After discussing her own hard-to-live-with neighbors, she says…

Ironically, rather than face-to-face discussions, it may be that the Internet is the best source of info about potentially exasperating neighbors. You can go to sites like, where people post items about loud parties and bad behavior.

Although researching online kvetching about your potential neighborhood is one option, I really like the notion of the Front Porch Forum.

Started by Michael Woods-Lewis and his wife, Valerie, about 10 years ago, Front Porch Forum is comprised of groupings of neighborhoods in Vermont, each of about 400 homes. People sign up and must clearly identify themselves (no anonymous ravings), and then post items of concern or interest to local neighbors.

To date, 17,000 households across 25 towns in that state interact and discuss what’s going on in their neck of the woods.

What’s key about FrontPorchForum is that it is a micro-community, not a giant group of users such as on Facebook or Twitter. And while the geography of the organization to date has been limited to the Vermont area, FPF will set up a forum in any area for a fee. Or you could start one of your own!

From a real estate perspective, this is a great option for giving insight to prospective buyers about the nature and zeitgeist of a neighborhood. Had there been a forum for my community in Connecticut, I most likely would have seen the many qualms others in the area have had with the infamous Mary and Jerry over the years (no, their ire has not just been focused on me).

Posted in: Burlington, Community Building, Facebook, Front Porch Forum, Knight Foundation, Local Online, MacArthur Fellows, Media, Neighborhood, social capital, Social Responsibility, Vermont

One comment

  1. carrie leber says:

    hey thanks for posting this! I love what you’re doing and hope it spreads across the country.

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