To ask “Are you the neighborhood snob?”, as Boston.com’s real estate blog did yesterday, misses the point of Trulia’s Neighbor Survey. Is anyone else concerned that 2/3rds of American say they like their neighbors, but nearly half don’t know their names? If happiness is correlated to human connections, can big data or personal data give potential homebuyers new ways to increase and compare the quality of interactions at the street level rather than being concerned about return on investment?
One of the measures of neighborliness used by Trulia, knowing your neighbor’s name, is just a start; and not even a requirement to do small acts of kindness, like helping push a car in the snow.
The other measure used by Trulia, “liking your neighbor,” is not as important as the frequency of interaction and collaboration in what some call the “gift economy.”
Thankfully, thought leaders and innovators are creating ways to track and quantify random acts of kindness and generosity. Imagine the decade old movie “Pay it Forward” accessible and turbo charged by smartphones, and amplified by a worldwide collaborative effort.
The rallying cry of The H(app)athon Project is:
Imagine a world measured by well-being versus wealth
Several years ago, Real Estate Cafe asked if we can map 50 different kinds of Crime, can we identify 50 kinds of neighborliness and map that too?
Or what about simply giving potential homebuyers a way to identify neighborhood connectors — a term used by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Tipping Point– rather than neighborhood snobs?
If N-Scores exited, would that influence where you choose to house hunt?
If individual neighbors had N-scores, would you want yours to be public or private?
If individuals could have their own N-Score in their Personal Cloud, would you permission house hunters to see yours so you potentially attract a community oriented new neighbor who might become a lifelong friend?
Use case for N-Scores
My fantasy is that some day we’ll see bidding wars, not to bid over asking price for a house, but to help someone with a high N-Score move onto a street or into condo complex because existing residents believe they will be a positive influence on their children and their community.
And their happiness!
My recollection is that Richard Florida and other place gurus have posited that who you live beside may have more influence on your happiness than who you marry (need to confirm that statement or qualify it. Can anybody help?)
If that’s true, should knowing who your neighbors are drive your house hunt?
Can we co-create safe and meaningful ways for neighbors to share parts of their digital identify to inform house hunts?
Neighbors in a post-Snowden Era
Whether we like it or not, in this post-Snowden Era, our digital identity that is spread, on average, across more than 1,600 websites. Personal Clouds will give individuals the ability manage their digital identity, and leverage it for personal or public good. In his Mashable article, author / innovator / founder of the H(app)athon Project John Havens writes:
“In about three to five years it won’t matter if you’d rather not project your actions to the world — your virtual footprint will simply be too hard to conceal. Your preferences combined with the data generated by external forces will in essence make everything, including objects, inherently interactive.”
Put that together with this research finding and you can understand why MIT-spin off ID3 / IDcubed is collaborating locally with Havens and the City of Somerville on The H(app)iness Project.
“…seven out of 10 people were happy when they did something good for other people. But only one out of 10 people ever experienced generosity on a daily basis.”
You can learn more about hosting a h(app)iness workshop in your community or participating in unfolding series of MeetUps on and offline in Somerville by visiting these links:
Hopefully, at some point in the hyper-connected future, cynical / sad comments like this one Boston.com’s blog post, will no longer be true and the world truly will be a better and happier place!
“In many neighborhoods … your neighbors are not your friends.
You don’t get to pick them … you’re just stuck with them. Make the best of it.”