There are myriad online social groups in Aalborg to be found on Facebook. Some are dedicated to international residents, some to events, some to saving money…the list goes on. However, they are all separate from one another and one could spend many hours perusing the groups’ threads in order to keep on top of the postings and benefit from the members’ input. In part to address the inefficiency – and, one could argue, ineffectiveness – of this approach to social networking, a group of people interested in building neighborhood cohesion in different European cities has started a new platform. The platform is called My Neighborhood and the project underlying its development is funded by the EU.
The aim of the project is to ‘bring neighbours together and tighten relationships between citizens and decision makers’ . “This social network has been specifically designed to support local life with blogs, wikies, locations, and much more,” says Nicola Morelli, one of the researchers responsible for the development of Aalborg’s neighborhood site. Within the site are different categories, including challenges, events, blog, market square (a place to buy and sell items), places, communities, and neighbors.
Currently Aalborg’s site has 104 members or neighbors and there is a growing level of activity among them. For example, two weeks ago a member of the group posted to ‘challenges’ that he has trouble picking up his children every now and then and asks if there is someone who might be able to help, The My Neighborhood Aalborg group also participated in Volunteer Friday on 26 September, joining the masses who marched across the bridge from Aalborg to Nørresundby.The group’s ‘Voluntary Help Service has [also] assisted 11 people with disabilities in finding a volunteer to accompany them to different activities and engage in social relations,’ according to the project’s blog.
Naturally, the more members there are and the more active they are, the more useful the platform becomes to each individual and to the group as a whole. The better you understand it the more likely you are to use it. Tomorrow at 19:00 there will be a public presentation about the site and the project underlying it in at Torvet 5, Nørresundby. All are welcome; while the presentation will be in Danish, a project leader will be on hand to answer questions in English. One can also browse the site here and become a neighbor here. I think this is a great initiative and could be quite powerful if it really takes off. Please have a look!