austin-neighborhood-on-river.jpgWhen a Washington, D.C., couple moved to Burlington, Vermont, they were having trouble getting to know the neighbors. So, they cooked up a plan to use the internet as a way to meet NOT people who lived half a world away, but half a block.

“I invested $15 at the copy shop, printed up 400 fliers, and put one on every door in our neighborhood,” Wood-Lewis explains. “It pretty much just said, ‘Share messages about lost cats and block parties.'”

Someone wrote in: “Neighbors, FYI: Late last night I observed a large possum ambling across my front yard. Not as bad as a skunk, but I understand that possums can damage gardens and dig up lawns.” Twenty-four hours later, another neighbor responded: “They have very soft feet that aren’t good for digging and aren’t likely to cause lawn damage–and they’re very clean animals and spend much of their rest time grooming themselves.”

Meanwhile, someone else had pruned his apples trees and wanted to share the news that he had kindling piled up on the back porch free for the taking. Down the street someone’s car had been broken into: only thing taken was a gym bag filled with “my shoes, some sweaty clothes, and a couple of issues of The New Yorker. If anyone finds it dumped in their shrubbery, let me know.”

“The Forum grew steadily, from 10 or 20 percent of the neighborhood to the point where we had 90 percent of the neighborhood signed up,” says Wood-Lewis.

That’s when Cottage Living magazine included the area in its list of the 10 best neighborhoods in the country.

(READ the story originally from Yankee Magazine, in of Thanks to Shanti for the link!


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