Sunday Editorial: Going Next Door

We are more connected now than we ever have been in history. In a few seconds, we can link up with friends and family across the world through video chat. Through tools like Facebook and Twitter we can follow many different people and connect. With online sites like NextDoor we can share information with neighbors and let them know our cat is missing or that we are looking to sell something.

Our community is utilizing NextDoor to share information but like many online tools there are positives and negatives to its usage. One of the themes that I have noticed on our Edgewater NextDoor community is a distaste for the new modern homes going up in town. People can become pretty worked up sharing their frustrations online.

But have we lost the human side in our online connections and information sharing?

Yesterday I spent my morning touring homes and gardens around town on the Edgewater Home and Garden Tour. Two of the homes that we toured on Ames Street were the modern, boxy homes that some in our community have come to despise. We had the opportunity to be on the tour with one of the couples that owns one of these duplexes pictured above on Ames Street. They were very hospitable and welcoming of us touring their home. As we walked and talked with them, it was clear they are great neighbors and community members.

Now that I know this couple and their interest in giving back to our Edgewater community, it changes my perspective. I don’t see a boxy home; I see a couple who love our community and want to be involved. In our attempt to connect online and share our opinions, it is far too easy to lose the human connection.

There are a number of issues like home styles that can divide folks in our community. This increases in an election year. I have found that the way to circumvent these divides is to get to know neighbors in person instead of relying solely on online connections through tools like NextDoor or Facebook.

When we sit down and talk to our neighbors we realize that we have more in common than we think. So I say we give folks a chance. Get to know our neighbor next door whose weeds in the alley annoy us. Maybe we’ll find out they are going through a tough time and are too overwhelmed to take care of their weeds. Or maybe those twentysomethings moving into the new modern home share our love for Edgewater and its small town charm. They might love to hear your stories of growing up in Edgewater.

Our community is changing. We have a choice of whether to fight the change and form battle lines, or take the time to get to know those who are moving in and see what we have in common.

All who live here have an equal voice in what kind of community Edgewater will become. How do we make sure all voices are heard? My hope is that we can find ways to connect across generational lines and continue building our Edgewater community together.


2 Comments on "Sunday Editorial: Going Next Door"

  1. Thank you for such a great write-up! I represent the couple on the Ames St tour and appreciate your kind words. When we moved to Edgewater last year, it was to be in a walkable community – but the bonus was a neighborhood where we’ve made friends.

    I’ve since learned that Edgewater is very supportive of diversity in people. So why can’t we extend that to our homes? It’s not about scraping everything and replacing it with new, nor is it about preserving every brick and board. It’s about CARING – for your neighbors and your homes and ACCEPTING of our differences. Just focus on making Edgewater beautiful and friendly.

  2. A follow-up to those who are not fans of the new “boxy” homes, thinking maybe the builder got lazy or something. These modern styles are actually a classic design, similar to other classic designs in Edgewater such as Victorian, Mid-century Modern, Craftsman, to name a few. Check out the “Bauhaus”, a renowned German school of art and design (1919-1933). The photo has some similarities to our houses. Many of the greats came out of that school: Mies van der Rohe, Kandinsky, Klee and Breuer. All the more reason that Edgewater is filled with really cool and artistic people and an interesting place to live.

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