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 Living Room Realty, 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

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