Building a neighbourhood: neighbouring and its place

Gough, E. Patricia
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University of Guelph

For years community developers have exerted great effort in the placing of buildings and roads in particular arrangements in hopes of creating neighbourhoods. However, along with the construction of buildings and roads, neighbourhoods are created through the interaction of neighbours. Little study has been carried out to understand how the physical environment facilitates neighbouring, or the social interaction between residents. It is this interaction that is largely responsible for the sense of long-term commitment and cohesion amongst neighbours, and whether or not they perceive their physical environments as neighbourhoods. The objective of this study is to determine how the physical environment facilitates social interaction amongst neighbours within an established neighbourhood. The study looks at both the neighbouring experience of children and adults. Adults in the community were surveyed to identify and describe physical features in the neighbourhood that they feel influence interact with their neighbours, and any other activities in which they may have been engaged while interacting. Participants were also asked to identify their neighbourhood and areas of interaction on a map. Children were taken on a walking tour of the neighbourhood and asked to identify the areas where they play, hangout and travel. Identification of these areas and the behaviour associated with them will allow for a better understanding of how the physical environment facilitates neighbourly behaviour. This knowledge will aid community developers in incorporating the facilitation of neighbouring into new development.

physical environment, social interaction, neighbours, neighbourhood, neighbouring experience, physical features, interactions, activities, neighbouring