Mail my Street
I love living in the NPSP area and first moved to the area in 1994 as a uni student. I love the historic architecture, the tree-lined avenues, the high-street feel of the Parade and the open spaces. I also like the feeling of community: our street hosts a xmas party every year in our local reserve, we pick up our FoodConnect veggie box from around the corner, I know my next-door neighbours well and we look out for each other. The social capital in our council area is strong…and yet…I think there is more we can do to ensure that we can connect in new and exciting ways. If you are reading this blog post, you by definition have access to the internet. Odds are you have a facebook page to connect with your friends, possibly a LinkedIn page to connect with work acquaintances, and just maybe a Twitter account to share your ideas with your community of interest, whether that be politics or pigeon-racing. But how can you connect electronically with your neighbours?
I live on a street with 60 or so houses. If I had the time, I could leaflet my neighbours to arrange a fruit swap, playgroup, or car pool. Sadly, leafletting is time-consuming. If, on the other hand, I want to send an email to the neighbours on my street, I can’t. While I know their physical addresses, I don’t know their email addresses. But what if someone, say a Council, established a database where I could choose to link my email address to my physical address? I could email everyone on my street, or in my neighbourhood, with the click of a website button without ever having to know their email details.Of course, there are technical issues to be resolved, such as privacy, safe usage and spam, but I’m sure these could be worked through in a small scale prototype. Imagine then, the enhanced ability for neighbours to connect and communicate, to share and create, across our communities. Social innovation works best when it not only improves lives, but also creates new relationships and enhances society’s capacity to act. What better way than to make it easier for neighbours to connect with one another?
Brenton Caffin, Local Resident, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Centre for Social Innovation