Innovation That Matters

Connecting neighbours online — nethoods

Publishing & Media

Back in 2003, our sister-site coined the term nethoods to describe an emerging trend: “neighbourhoods, streets and even apartment buildings are starting to get their own internet and intranet sites: not just to promote the many qualities they have to offer their (prospective) inhabitants, but also to provide communal interaction and localised services.” A recent example of this trend is LifeAt. Launched in March 2007, LifeAt offers property managers a turnkey solution for launching a nethood for their building. So far, over 335 buildings have joined. The property websites are private and password protected, for use by residents only. Besides offering a platform where residents can meet and communicate, sites also allow users to post classified ads and rate and review local businesses. In addition, property managers post news about vacancies and maintenance work. By connecting people who tend to share not only a building but also similar socioeconomic backgrounds, and offering them a source of hyperlocal information, LifeAt is creating valuable links between cyberspace and ‘meatspace’. The concept is likely to find a wider audience now that people of all ages are getting used to sharing information online. Free for residents, LifeAt charges buildings a one-off fee of around USD 6,000 to create and launch a site. One to set up in other countries? And how about a version focusing specifically on office buildings? Spotted by: Tara Mason



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