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How to Be a Better Neighbor

Work Together

  • Tackle projects as a team. The Jane Street Association in New York City, made up of residents from a five-block stretch of Greenwich Village, received dozens of daffodil bulbs from over a million bulbs that Holland gave to the city after 9/11. Neighbors gathered to help plant them on their tree-lined streets.
  • Combine resources to earn extra dough. In Glocester, Rhode Island, Kristen Zambarano and 16 of her neighbors all held their own yard sale on the same Saturday. One person handled the newspaper ads and the rest pitched in to put up yard-sale signs on a nearby road. The urban equivalent? The Jane Street Association has a street sale every year. "It's like a multi-family garage sale, except we also have artists and crafts people," says chairperson Paula Feddersen.
  • Identify a common goal. Cynthia Barnes and her neighbors in the historic East Campus section of Columbia, Missouri, gather every Tuesday to pick up errant trash in the neighborhood. "Afterward we admire each other's yards and then share a glass of wine on someone's porch."
  • Find a buddy. Ask the woman who always jogs by if she'd like company a few mornings a week -- you'll make a friend and get fit at the same time.
  • Share. Instead of each homeowner investing in his own circular saw, extension ladder or fertilizer spreader, chat with neighbors about creating a co-op. Everyone contributes the equipment they have and can borrow whatever they need. A baby-sitting or carpooling co-op can work just as well.