4 Apps That Help You Find Community Roots in Your Neighborhood

by Ben SanfordNovember 9, 2018

Finding a Way Into What’s Happening All Around You, With Technology

The good old days when a new neighbor was greeted by a “welcome wagon” of locals looking to ease their transition into the community of the neighborhood are, in many areas, a fleeting memory. These days, you can move into a small town or neighborhood and if you don’t try to establish connections and actively build community, you could go without meeting your neighbors for years.

Unfortunately, finding new ways to make neighborhood connections and to build community without having to resort to literally knocking on doors and introducing yourself (awkward), can be very challenging. Thankfully, we have the Internet these days. Through our tablets and smartphones, we can access a variety of apps that will help us connect with our neighbors digitally, as a first step. These four hyper-local apps can help you find like-minded folks to connect with, no matter how unwelcoming your new neighborhood may feel at first.

how to meet your neighbors

1 – Nextdoor

Imagine a hyper-local version of a social network – an app that allows you to narrow your social network down to just your block or local area. Nextdoor is an app that gives you an environment where you can communicate with your neighbors about neighborhood issues, events, lost pets, garage sales, community spaces, and everything else that you could want to talk about, having to do with your immediate environment.

2 – IOBY

Getting information out and into circulation, accessing the latest news about your community, is only one aspect of community building. For instance, there are times when you want to bring the whole community together behind an initiative or special project. Whether it’s cleaning up the neighborhood playground, organizing a neighborhood-wide yardsale weekend, or establishing a neighborhood community garden, ioby can help you rally the community. Good news – ioby also doubles as a crowdfunding site.

how to meet your neighbors

3 – Local Alternative Weeklies Now That EveryBlock Is Gone

The best nonprofit app that aggregates citywide data and published news, current events, and neighborhood information submitted by your neighbors, EveryBlock, has sadly shut down as of summer of 2018. The app was like a rolling Internet almanac for every neighborhood in the U.S. But sadly, it was unsustainable.

As a decent alternative, folks can consider downloading the app of your town’s alternative news weekly. These neighborhood papers often do a great job of compiling community events, entertainment, neighborhood bar and restaurant reviews, and community issues in one easy-to-find (access and surf) place.

4 – Freecycle

Freecycle is an international nonprofit site and app that brings community members together to exchange goods that might otherwise end up taking up space in landfills. Say you have a bunch of building materials, canned goods, art supplies, garden sprouts, or whatever – that you just don’t really need. Freecycle will put you in contact with someone in your community who wants it, or in some cases, may desperately need what you are hoping to get rid of.
how to meet your neighbors

For Bonus Points, Try Face-to-Face Community Building

Once you’ve explored the app and Internet-based ways to make connections and to build relationships with community members, it’s time to take community building to the next level and get together with folks face-to-face. These apps may help break the ice for you, finding people within your community who you may share interests with, but it’ll ultimately be up to you to bridge that gap and forge those new relationships.

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.