Find any excuse -- misdelivered mail, arriving home at the same time -- to chat in person. "Seeing each other's faces is just as important as the verbal connection," says Naomi Drew, author of Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World (Kensington).
Be predictable. Just walking your dog at the same time every day can spark friendships that last for years. "I never would have described my New York city neighborhood as a 'community' -- until we got a dog," says Lisa Hanock-Jasie. "Pets are a terrific ice-breaker. Not only do we talk about our dogs, we talk about our lives."
Create a group e-mail list so keeping in touch is easy. Alert neighbors to news and upcoming events, or rally around a neighbor in need.
Write a newsletter worth reading. Include city-related news that affects your neighborhood, discuss projects everyone can be involved in, promote a House of the Month, etc. Include classifieds (free, of course) for everything from items for sale to baby-sitting services.
Designate block captains. More than 20 people volunteer to be block captains for the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association. They deliver the quarterly newsletter door-to-door, welcome new neighbors and serve as the lookouts for anyone on their block who is in trouble or needs something.