We don’t always get along with our neighbours, and as we move towards more high-density living, we need to keep each other on side rather than off side. Noise is sometimes a problem; so is simply getting to know each other, especially when high-density living also often attracts quite a high ratio of renters to owner/occupiers and therefore a more transient population. In Canberra, where many of us are at work all day (lucky us – and I mean that when we think of our neighbours here and overseas) it takes effort to even manage a ‘Hello’ at the end of the day because we barely see each other.
High-density living isn’t the only culprit in our neighbourly suburban wastelands. Big blocks in leafy older suburbs can be just as bad. When my relationship broke down my neighbours on both sides of me in a street I had lived in and brought my children up in for 20 years, had no idea that my partner wasn’t with us any more until at least 3 months afterwards!
Founded by Andrew Heslop in 2003, Neighbour Day began in Melbourne after an elderly woman was found dead in her unit, several years after it happened, and none of her neighbours realised she was no longer around. Neighbour Day is held on the last Sunday in March. Go to the official website for tips on putting on your own event and getting to know your neighbours.
I’m organising Neighbour Day in my neck of the woods, and as we have people from several different cultures, I’m asking everyone to bring along a plate from their country of origin for us to share.
By setting a time limit (5 – 8pm), hosting it in one of our communal areas, encouraging BYOG, kids but no pets, a $2 donation for soft drinks, baking a very large celebratory slab cake and borrowing an urn for tea and coffee, I’m hoping we will get a good group together for a quasi-soiree rather than a backyard brawl.
Go on – give it a go!