Blog Alberta Arts What's the difference between living in a community vs a neighborhood?

What’s the difference between living in a community vs a neighborhood?

By Tracy Dau, January 6, 2020

My business partner bought an old fixer-upper house off NE Alberta Street sometime ago.  The purchase of this home has had me thinking about the distinction between neighborhood and community. The words are often interchanged in the real estate industry, but they are not remotely similar.

Here’s what ‘feels’ different to me about those two words:  When I pull up to our fixer house off Alberta Street to work on it, Larry, the ‘Mayor’ of that block, immediately crosses the street to shake my hand and connect with me.  He comes to say hello, ask me how I am doing, or ask me whether I need something warm to drink.  Often he will ask me whether I would like to throw extra debris in his trailer since he’s going to the dump that day.  His willingness to give and help is extraordinary.  Even more so, since my partner and I don’t live in his neighborhood.  It would be easy for this NE community to view us as outsiders that are restoring an old house to make a buck.  A community, acts of friendliness. People in communities care for one-another, something not necessarily present in a neighborhood. Larry is not the only one on this block that comes to chat and share their friendliness, the rest of the block does it as well.

I have lived in my same neighborhood in SE Portland for over 20 years.  I love my neighborhood but it feels like a neighborhood; not so much of a community. Years ago it felt softer and more connected with long term residents.   Neighborhoods exist physically but the people do not necessarily have any connection with each other despite their close proximity.  Many of the homes around me have sold and new folks have moved in. I don’t know their names or even the names of their dogs as they walk by my house when I am out gardening. My work could be to knock on the doors of those new renters or home owners and plant the seeds of cultivating ‘community’ (something I have not yet done).  Perhaps that should be on our 2020 list if we are striving for more community in our neighborhoods?   Be the one to take action rather than wallowing in the fact that we wish we knew those around us.  My goal is to be more like my friend Larry.  To be the neighbor who crosses the street and takes the time to walk on over and get connected.

Another thing to add to my list for 2020

Tracy Dau

Broker | Earth Advantage | OR


When you meet Tracy Dau, it doesn’t take long to realize where her true passions lie.  She loves houses and loves matching her clients with the place that’s perfect for them.  Ask her clients and they’ll tell you she’s a whirlwind of energy, a juggler of projects, a creative force, a good listener and a tireless advocate.  She comes to the job with a vision for what’s possible and the background to make that happen. Maybe it’s because she grew up in the breathtaking town of Juneau Alaska, where it rains 250 days a year.  It’s the kind of place where you either give into gloomy weather or dig deep and find the will to preserve. Maybe it’s because her folks instilled in her the drive to succeed. For the past sixteen years she has gutted and restored many houses, using any opportunity to work with her hands. Blending her formal training as a fine artist and designer with her experience as a builder, these old-house remodels have become her creative canvas. Her time as a product developer and architectural consultant at Rejuvenation House Parts introduced her to a community of like-minded folks who encouraged her to become a REALTOR®. She is drawn to vintage homes. The artist in her is drawn to their detail, the builder in her to their craftsmanship. Their charm and imperfections make them all the more fascinating and soulful. That’s what drew her to her first home. Stripped of all her painted-lady features, she sat sadly on a corner lot in SE Portland waiting to be loved and cared for. She had a yard full of shopping carts, a tree that had grown through her facade, motor-oil soaked mattresses and a basement full of the neighbor’s missing car parts, and yet, in spite of this her husband Nate and Tracy bought and fixed her up. This renovation lead to the next house-love-affair, followed by another and another. It only made sense to apply this knowledge and the valuable lessons learned along the way to help others looking to buy or improve their own homes. Which brings me to why she became a REALTOR®. Tracy chose this job because she is passionate about houses and loves the chance to develop relationships with her clients. When you choose to work with Tracy, she will advocate for your best interests, guide you through the home buying process and protect you from the stressful moments as they inevitably arise. She will advise you every step of the way to enable you to make good decisions, stay centered and reach your goals. Even after your  transaction has come to an end, Tracy is still available to answer your questions and help with your home projects. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors. Her hobbies include teaching her children, Lander and Olivia, about nature, hunting for sea creatures, spotting birds, drinking bourbon in the winter and gin in the summer, eating chocolate and traveling to warm destinations.
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