Neighbor and neighborhood mean different things today. With the advent of the era in which social media and master-planned communities proliferate, you could say that the boundaries of neighborhoods are in a state of flux. But no matter where or in what type of neighborhood you live, you can probably relate to the sentiment expressed by American writer, Carl Sandburg, when he quipped, “Love your neighbor as yourself but don’t take down the fence.”
Unfortunately, neighbors are not always depicted in very flattering ways through movies, in cable shows, and on TV. Of late, it seems like the slasher and bed-hopping types are all the rage. Maybe this will change. We hope so because the reality for many of us is that some of our neighbors have become good friends and the vast majority of them are good and decent people.
For our purposes, a neighbor is someone who lives on adjoining property to yours and includes anyone who lives on the same common drive or block as you. If you live in a multi-family building, this includes all those who share the same building as well as those in other dwellings within the same complex. If you live in a master-planned community or development, depending on its size, you may consider all people who live within its boundaries as neighbors. If you live in a mixed-use area in which homes, shops, offices, or other establishments are located, neighbors can also include the people who work in them. In other words, anyone who lives or works in close proximity to your home is a neighbor.
We consider the neighborhood to be the area in close proximity to your home, including those who share something in common with you such as a property line, building, common drive, community pool, park, etc. We like to refer to it as your microhood, as opposed to the larger community or the town or city in which you live.
As you can see, today it’s challenging to write a precise definition for these terms. Suffice it to say that if someone lives or works in relatively close proximity to you, they’re a neighbor. Besides, if you err on the side of caution by considering someone a neighbor and act neighborly toward them, we doubt that they’ll take exception to being called a neighbor.
This is an excerpt from Beyond Stereotypes, How to Be Neighborly.