24 Hours – The real deal on neighborhood and community Issues Forums

While our marketing lacks flash, we have a surplus of substance.

We’ve simplified the main page for our Christchurch, New Zealand Neighbours.cc collection of neighbours forums.

We’ve also gathered testimonials from members and Forum Managers about the value they receive and we now have a simple list of what actually happens across our forums (one sample 24 hours).

So from our Christchurch FAQ:

What will be discussed?

Local issues and announcements. Ultimately it is up to you.

You have to believe it to see it.

Meaning, until initial members form a critical mass and take a leap of faith that online engagement with your neighbours is a good and very useful thing, we won’t see it in action.

With over 20 existing Neighbours Forums across E-Democracy.org building real community everyday, here are examples from a recent 24 hours of activity across the entire network:

Discussions about:

  • Lack of a pharmacy in a low income neighbourhood
  • City responsivenes to fixing a pot-holed street
  • Reuniting a found dog with its owner to keep it from going to the pound
  • Recommendations on a good auto mechanic
  • Planning approval for local student housing
  • Recycling and garbage incineration
  • About how “local” charities canvassing for donations door to door are
  • Where to get great service for kitchen appliances
  • Where to get violin lessons for their children
  • Changes to liquor store spacing restrictions and schools – started by a city councillor asking for input
  • Why a local coffee shop went out of business with many thanks for years of service
  • Light rail construction
  • Parking
  • Ceiling plaster work recommendations
  • Neighbors helping neighbors in tough economic times

Announcements about:

  • An awarded pedestrian safety grant
  • A community theatre event
  • Local food shelf donations
  • Gathering photos of local business
  • A video about the online response after the collapse of major bridge
  • A  job creation policy conference at a local college
  • A dog park fence contract opportunity seeking neighbourhood contractor bids in a low income area
  • Primary school fundraiser
  • A video from a community event written in the second most spoken language for the area
  • Local news headlines from a community media website
  • A new local photo of the day website
  • An internship opportunity in a local arts organisation
  • A community forum with the Mayor


The necessity of communication is one of the biggest drivers of information exchange. On our forums that established before a crisis, they help unleash the communities capacity to respond to challenges. What we have not tried before is helping our local volunteers launch multiple forums all at the same time in response to such a major event like the Christchurch earthquake.

Most of the proposed forums will fail to quickly (or never) attract critical mass participation because they will only come to life if a few local people come to champion their forum. Once one or two break through, our experience is that neighboring areas say, hey we can do that too!

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