THE BLOG
06/30/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Knowing Your Neighbors Is Good for the Economy

Alternet posted an excerpt today from Bill McKibben's new book, EAARTH: Making Life on a Tough Planet. My friend and neighbor leeleepits (no really, she lives in my neighborhood, Atwater Village) shared this link with me today via Twitter.

The Surprising Reason Why Americans Are So Lonely, and Why Future Prosperity Means Socializing with Your Neighbors

McKibben explains that our "hyperindividualized" economy has eliminated the need for our neighbors in our daily lives. When we can order whatever we need online and have it delivered to our doorstep, who needs to rub elbows with their neighbors at the local market? The sad side effect of our convenience culture is that we spend less time with family and friends. We have lost the sense of "community" with the people around us. While we have easy access to everything we need, we enjoy that convenience essentially alone.

Of course, we've learned recently that an economy devoid of place not only makes us sad and lonely, it's also doomed to fail in a spectacular fashion. And this has us all re-evaluating what it is we really need. As McKibben so cleverly puts it, "There aren't enough iPods on Earth to compensate for those missing friendships."

So it's a good thing that communities around the world are creating new solutions and focusing on local economies. We're seeing quite a bit of this innovation right here in Los Angeles.

My own startup here in downtown LA, NeighborGoods, is a website that enables you to borrow and rent stuff from your neighbors instead of buying everything new. Save money, live more sustainably, and strengthen the community in your neighborhood.

In a similar vein, there are several local Time Banking projects where you can exchange your skills with your neighbors. By volunteering your time and skills to those who need it, you bank credits to receive services in return.
Echo Park Time Bank
Arroyo Time Bank
West LA Time Bank

Local Restaurant in Silverlake serves fresh organic locally grown food and it's a huge hit with the east side hipsters. My friend Cris says Local serves "the best chilaquiles I've ever had in my life."

NeighborGoods is proud to be a part of this trend toward building a more sustainable local economy. Mostly though, we want to help you be a little less lonely. What are some of your favorite examples of the local trend in your neighborhood?