Building a Local Community

Building a Local Community

Winter 2015


Written by:

Dominic Amato

Jason Boggs

Julia Davies

Leo Primero III *

Amanda Ruzin



Table of Contents

Executive Summary        

Introduction        

Methods and Analysis        

Observation        

Observation Recruitment        

Observation Participants        

Observation Procedure        

Observation Analysis        

Interviews        

Interview Recruitment        

Interview Participants        

Interview Procedure        

Interview Analysis        

Survey        

Survey Recruitment        

Survey Participants        

Survey Procedure        

Survey Analysis        

Results (Findings)        

Observation Results        

Interview Results        

Survey Results        

Hypotheses Testing        

Personas        

Scenarios        

Discussion        

Conclusion and Future Work        

Acknowledgments        

Appendix        

Appendix A. Informed Consent Form - Observation        

Appendix B. Written Observations        

Appendix C. Informed Consent Form - Interview        

Appendix D. Interview Transcription        

Appendix E:  Interview Protocol        

Appendix F. Survey Questionnaire        

Appendix G. Persona Spectrums        

Appendix H. Task Matrix        

Appendix I. T-Test Tables        

Bibliography        

 


Executive Summary

A challenging aspect of moving to a new neighborhood is developing a sense of community. Individuals who move to new neighborhoods sometimes experience difficulty getting to know those who live around them. The goal of our research was to better understand our participants’ methods for meeting people and growing their relationships. We also sought to identify problems experienced as people integrate into a new neighborhood. Our research objectives were:

To address these research objectives, we selected participants according to the following criteria and conducted observations, interviews and a survey.  The criteria for selection of our research subjects was:

We began by observing people as they recalled activities related to learning about their new neighbors including instances where participants re-enacted using online tools to obtain information about people. These observations took place at a variety of locations, including the participant’s home or workplace, a neutral third party location, or a researcher’s home. We collected data in the form of notes and audio recordings. We found the following themes:

After our the observations, we conducted interviews in order to learn more about users’ experiences meeting and getting to know neighbors after moving to a new community. We collected data in the form of notes and audio recordings that were then transcribed and coded using a collaborative coding tool (beta.saturateapp.com).  We used the open coding method to group codes and refine themes from the interviews. These themes were:

Having reviewed the themes revealed in the interview data, the team developed a set of hypotheses to test using a survey.  The survey was designed to test three hypotheses:

  1. Urban people are less satisfied with how well they have gotten to know their neighbors than Suburban people
  2. Urban people have more difficulty getting to know neighbors than Suburban people
  3. Suburban people put in more effort to get to know neighbors than urban people

Because our hypotheses were about the differences in experiences for suburban and urban people, we tested our hypotheses using the 62 respondents who indicated they lived in an Urban or Suburban area.

The survey data yielded expected results in a few areas:

The survey data yielded unexpected results in a few areas:

As suburban residents

While two of our hypotheses failed to provide significant results, we did have significant results that people in urban settings were less satisfied with the number of neighbors they knew by first name as compared to their suburban counterparts.   We could not prove that urban people reported having a harder time getting to know their neighbors or that suburban residents put in more effort in getting to know their neighbors. This aligned with Greenfield’s theory that more urbanized individuals would have less intimate relationships with their neighbors. What is interesting here is that a majority of people thought getting to know their neighbors was important and were willing to approach their neighbors to introduce themselves. Thus some other factor prevented urban individuals from initiating satisfactory relationships with their neighbors.

In the future, related research could include studies determining comfort levels of sharing information using technology that could be used to strengthen neighborly connections. It would be interesting to see if people felt closer to their neighbors when they had access to more in depth information about them.  It’s possible that going beyond just recognizing faces or knowing first names would help people become more integrated with other people in their community.  We would also like to study the differences in magnitude between those neighbors who met through incidental means as opposed to those relationships that were created through more intimate relations like friends and family.

Introduction

When moving to an unfamiliar neighborhood, people encounter many challenges that can make moving into a new home a difficult and stressful process. These challenges include the logistics and expenses created by the move, and the difficulty in connecting to their new community. Redhead and Brereton (2008) indicated one reason for this difficulty was the low visibility of public community resources available despite their prevalence.

During a review of current literature, we identified methods and potential solutions other researchers developed to reduce the difficulties of connecting an individual to their community. In Gross et al.’s (2011) presentation, the researchers devised a system with shared meals as the focal point for encouraging members of a community to share new experiences. They identified food as a strong shared activity to which all people have a deep connection. Another group of researchers used an interactive canvas to create a shared experience between individuals at a community festival (Boerdonk, Tieben, Klooster & Hoven, 2009). The researchers aimed to reduce thresholds related to ‘first contact’ threshold, visual appearance, and prejudice which inhibit social interaction for strangers.  These projects sought inventive ways of connecting people and identified the challenges involved.  Could the learning be generalized to the population as a whole, to help neighbors connect with one another?

Over the past ten years, the Internet has increasingly influenced our interactions with other people and how we gather and process information about our surroundings.  Would any technology help people solve the problems encountered when moving to a new neighborhood?  Specifically, could existing tools or services help a new resident connect to their neighbors?  If so, how?  And if not, why not?  These questions drove us to investigate existing tools in this space.  

Nextdoor.com is an online tool for social networking where the membership is controlled by location. Only members within the designated area can join and post messages. Each member has a profile and can post as much or as little information about himself as he chooses. However, he must use his real name, and his eligibility for the group is verified by home address.  So how does an area get “designated” within Nextdoor?  It happens when someone inquires about whether his or her neighborhood is part of Nextdoor.com. If it is, they get put into the appropriate neighborhood group. If it isn’t, they get to start a new neighborhood group, and they become the leader. This means they set the neighborhood boundaries, invite people to join the group, and monitor posts.

A similar service called Band of Neighbors was started by the company Angie's List, a well-known social networking site for service provider recommendations.   Band of Neighbors allows people to communicate in private forums, share advice about local resources and alert each other to crime and safety issues.  Like Nextdoor.com, it relies on interested parties to join the service, designate the neighborhood boundaries and provide the information that supports the value proposition.  The information shared could be anything of general interest to the neighborhood:  A business opening or closing, a school district redrawing boundaries, a crime report, a lost pet, or a special event like a festival.

In order to be successful, tools like nextdoor.com and bandofneighbors.com require people to take an active interest in participating.  In the pre-internet days, the information these tools aim to provide came from newspapers, and from conversations between neighbors.  A person’s network of neighbors had the potential to provide a rich feed of information related to neighborhood-specific topics like a house going on the market, a potential zoning variance, or an upcoming opportunity to socialize with neighbors.


With this in mind, we set out to explore people’s attitudes and motivations about getting to know their neighbors. We started our research with observation and contextual inquiry, then we moved on to interviews and surveys.  We designed this study to help us understand how people meet their neighbors when they move to a new neighborhood, what their challenges were, and what tools they used in their efforts to meet and develop relationships with their neighbors.  Did they use technology?  But perhaps most importantly, did they think it was important to expend effort on building a local community?

Methods and Analysis

Observation

We conducted an observational study to better understand how people meet their neighbors when moving to a new community. Our team modeled the observations upon a Master and Apprentice approach where we let participants instruct us on their processes and methods. Each team member observed participants in an uncontrolled environment as they re-enacted how they got to know their new neighbors. Observations took place in an office of a neutral third party, a participant’s office, a participant's home, and one of the researcher’s homes. Team members used the Contextual Inquiry framework to take notes. The notes were then organized into an affinity diagram and a sequence diagram as a way to discover themes.

Observation Recruitment

We recruited friends, family, coworkers and neighbors by talking with them face to face, and through social media, email, and phone calls.  We used the following criteria to screen participants:

We only considered candidates who met the criteria above for the study. All participants signed the Informed Consent forms (see Appendix A: Informed Consent Form - Observation).

Observation Participants

We observed eight participants from various neighborhoods in the city and the suburbs. Their ages ranged from 24 to 54, and they had all moved within the past 3 years.

Gender

Age

Time Since Moved

Location

P1

F

25

6 months

Chicago, IL

P2

F

26

1 year 6 months

Chicago, IL

P3

F

54

2 years 6 months

Homer Glen, IL

P4

F

34

3 years

Oak Lawn, IL

P5

F

46

2 years 6 months

St Charles, Illinois

P6

M

24

1 year 7 months

Suburban New Jersey

P7

F

36

3 years

Chicago, IL

P8

M

27

9 months

Chicago, IL

Table 1: Detailed demographic data from Observation Report.

Observation Procedure

The observations took place at different times of the day and on different days of the week. We explained the goals of the research to the participants and had them sign Informed Consent forms.

We used the same protocol for all observations, reading the following explanation to participants to set the context:  

“When you move into a new neighborhood, how do you get to know your neighbors?  Do you walk around door-to-door introducing yourself?  Do you look up their names online? Do nothing and wait for a reason to meet them?  It’s easy enough to meet your next-door neighbors, but what if you want to expand your circle to people who live a little bit further from you?  Knowing your neighbors can be a matter of safety and convenience. What if there are crime threats in the neighborhood and you want to warn people to be careful?  What if your car battery is dead, you need a jumpstart and your next-door neighbor isn’t home?  Wouldn’t it be good to know the people surrounding you and be on a first name basis with them? Helping and being helped, being social, and keeping each other safe and informed is central to being part of a community.“

We then began gathering information using the following steps:

  1. Each researcher asked the participant to identify different methods they have used to interact with and learn about their neighbors.
  2. Once the list was compiled, the researcher selected an item on the list and asked the participant to:

a)  Re-enact the activity (simulate), step by step or:

b)  Engage in the live activity while we observed.

The nature of our topic required the participants to recall different scenarios in which they had met their neighbors in the past. It wasn’t possible to observe our participants meeting new people, although in some cases we observed them re-enacting the use of online tools for gathering information or interacting with people they had already met. We adapted the categories of the framework to the requirements of our topic and our research questions, ultimately creating a written observation protocol that used the following categories to guide our observations:

Each observation lasted between 20 and 30 minutes. At the end of the observation, we thanked the participant and asked if there was anything else they would like to tell us. Occasionally, this question evoked additional responses about topics previously explored.

Observation Analysis

After the observations were complete, team members typed their notes into a single collection document, from which we gathered meaningful phrases from the notes into an affinity-diagramming tool called listhings.com. We started by individually capturing the lowest level ideas and combined them into a single Excel spreadsheet. From there, we converted each idea into a virtual sticky note on Listhings.com so that we could collectively sort them into categories. Once our initial categories were created, a pair of team members combined any overlapping categories. The 11 categories created were further combined into 5 overarching themes.  The collection was then finalized in Axure. An illustration of the work in process is shown below.

Figure 1: The affinity diagram represents how the research team coded and

organized the data from the eight observation sessions (view this online at http://flbjm7.axshare.com/).

Interviews

Following the observations, we then conducted one-on-one interviews to gather information about people’s experiences meeting their neighbors. We were interested in identifying challenges and roadblocks associated with learning names and obtaining contact information, as well as the tools and strategies they used to approach those problems.

Interview Recruitment

Using the same criteria as for the Observation study, we recruited friends, family, coworkers and neighbors by talking with them face to face, and through social media, email, and phone calls.  All participants signed the Informed Consent forms (see Appendix C: Informed Consent Form - Interview).  The criteria were:

Interview Participants

We interviewed five participants from various neighborhoods, urban and suburban.  Their ages ranged from 18 to 55, and they had lived in their new homes between 4 and 42 months.

Gender

Age

Time Since Moved

Relationship Status

People in home

Location

AR-P1

F

18-24

4 months

Single

1

Chicago, IL

JB-P2

F

35-49

1.5 years

Single

1

Romeoville, IL

DA-P3

M

25-34

1 years

Single

3

Milwaukee, WI

LP-P4

F

50-55

5 months

Married

3

Keyport, NJ

JD-P5

F

35-49

3.5 years

Married

4

South Elgin, IL

Table 2: Detailed demographic data from Interview Memo.

Interview Procedure

Each researcher recruited and screened one participant according to the criteria above, for a total of five interviews. The interviews took place at different times of the day and on different days of the week. We explained the goals of the research to the participants and had them sign Informed Consent forms. All interviews consisted of the same base questions (see Appendix E: Interview Protocol). The questions followed an hourglass structure with the following sections: Introduction, Warm-up Questions, General Issues, Deep Focus, Retrospective, Wrap-up, and Demographics. Interviewers asked follow-up and clarification questions as needed. Interviewers took notes using pen and paper and recorded audio using a smartphone. The interviews lasted between 15 and 25 minutes in length.

Interview Analysis

Each interviewer transcribed their interview and posted the transcription to a shared notebook on Saturate (beta.saturateapp.com). Since we used an open inductive qualitative analysis, we followed an iterative approach to coding our interviews.

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Figure 2: Screenshot of our shared notebook in Saturate

First each interviewer read through a different interviewer’s transcript, coding that interview without looking at the existing codes. Then they coded their own interview without looking at existing codes. We focused our codes on themes, keywords, and phrases that were associated with our research questions. The first iteration of coding created 187 unique codes.

Once the first iteration of open coding was complete, we reviewed all of the codes as a group and identified categories, which we used to make the second round of coding more consistent.  By renaming and merging codes, and in some cases creating new codes, we came up with a consolidated list that was aligned with our observation themes and our research questions. In many cases we had to go back to the transcript to review and verify the context of the data. Finally, we deleted codes that were uncategorized. Those that hadn’t been categorized were one-offs, or didn’t align with our research questions.  After the third iteration of open coding, we had 73 unique codes separated into 12 categories that were distilled into 5 themes.

#

Theme

Categories

Code (Examples)

1

There is no universal definition of “neighborhood” or ”knowing neighbors”

Ambiguity of Definitions

Each subject has a unique perspective on what these terms mean.

  • Acquaintance
  • Friend
  • Knowing
  • Neighborhood

2

People are limited by external and personal factors in learning about neighbors

Barriers

Boundaries

Closeness

Each subject sets their own boundaries according to their level of comfort with interaction. Sometimes boundaries are set by factors outside of their control.

  • Setting Boundaries
  • Weather
  • Their own personality
  • Being busy
  • Remembering names

3

People had concerns about technology and the information shared with neighbors

Privacy

Technology

Using technology was perceived as being intrusive.

  • Using technology
  • Information sharing
  • Need for privacy

4

People connected to others by networking through other people

Methods

Attitudes

In Common

Using interactions with people they know to expand their neighborhood network.

  • Hobbies
  • Group Activities
  • Introduction by friends
  • Reaching out

5

People identified safety and security as a reason to know their neighbors

Security

People want to look after others and have others look after them.

  • Safety
  • Security
  • Asking a favor

Table 3: List of the themes that emerged, along with example categories and codes.

Survey

Using the information gathered from the observations and interviews, the team created several hypotheses to test using a survey. After refining our hypotheses to 3 main topics we then created a 34-question online survey to gather data to test against the hypotheses.

Survey Recruitment

We recruited respondents for the online survey by posting the link to social media and emailing the link to friends, family, coworkers and neighbors of the researchers.  To keep the characteristics of the sample consistent with the observation and the interview, we captured the following data points in the survey so that we could filter out respondents who did not meet our criteria.

Our criteria for data selection were:

Survey Participants

A total of 85 respondents completed the survey, 67 of which met all of our criteria.

All of the respondents were 18 years of age or older. Of the respondents, 18 had lived in their home more than 5 years, and were not eligible for our analysis. None of the respondents lived in dormitories or other types of institutional housing.

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Figure 3: Survey Respondents by Gender

Of our eligible respondents, 48 were women and 19 were men.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/dW8CPqkitaGHNN1eZIvvImaiSKargt93mFfeuri5LuUiLZb5K9jqTchkXhIr1gKRaYsQng4J0hbFgumU-EZMUqhCi84nZlmYV1bBIqtAIsO6Ssmwmpkjxf100cq6pDW0GqygYuM

Figure 4: Survey Respondents by Age

Of our eligible respondents, 11 were between 18-25 years old, 36 were between 25-35 years old, 14 were 35-45 years old, and 2 were between 45-55 years old.  

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Figure 5: Survey Respondents by Type of Neighborhood

Of our eligible respondents, 41 self-identified as living in an urban area, 21 said they lived in a suburban area, 3 said they lived in a rural area and one person each wrote in that they live in a college town and small town.

Survey Procedure

We started by creating hypotheses based on the findings from our observations and interviews. Our hypotheses were:

Once we identified our hypotheses, we identified the independent and dependent variables and types of tests that we would use to test our hypotheses. Next we created survey questions that would capture that data. Our survey included 34 questions that had multiple-choice single select, multiple-choice multi select, Likert scale, and open text formats. We used Google Forms and let the survey run until at least 30 qualified participants responded and for a minimum of 24 hours. Responses from the survey were saved into a Google Spreadsheet

Survey Analysis

Once we closed the survey, we used the survey data from the Google Spreadsheet to create a set of charts to analyze the demographic data and determine trends and patterns. These charts gave us a rough idea of the percentages for each survey response.


In preparation for t-tests, we imported the survey results spreadsheet into a Microsoft Access database table and used Structured Query Language (SQL) statements to trim and organize the data for our three hypotheses. We also used SQL to map our Likert responses from text values to numerical values. The organized data was then exported from the Access database and into SPSS data files to run the t-tests.

Results

Observation Results

We discovered the following categories and subcategories in our analysis:

Topic Grouping  / Subgrouping

# Of Mentions

Methods

  • Meeting people through others
  • Making initial contact/ showing interest
  • Neighborhood characteristics
  • Reaching out in community
  • How people learned neighbors names
  • Where people made casual contact
  • How people obtained contact information
  • Communicating once you know people

25

23

12

12

12

7

4

2

Tools

  • Online Resources
  • Tools used
  • Organizing information

25

18

7

Description

  • Demographics (of research participants)
  • How long people have lived there
  • Why it's good to know your neighbors

9

5

2

Miscellaneous

  • Browser specific observations
  • Not wanting to know neighbors
  • Obstacles to getting to know neighbors

11

7

2

Table 4: Themes and categories from Observation Report.

The top three categories were:  Meeting People Through Others, Making Initial Contact, and Online Resources. These were the most often mentioned topics, at between 23 and 25 mentions. They show that given the direction to speak about their experiences, these were the topics that the participants felt the strongest about.

Subjects met people through others

The most commonly mentioned method for meeting new neighbors was being introduced via other people. Four of our eight participants mentioned meeting neighbors through the introductions of other people. Three participants mentioned meeting neighbors through existing friends, two of which proactively reached out to their friends asking them if they knew anyone in the neighborhood. Three participants reported meeting neighbors via introductions from other neighbors they already knew. One participant (AR P1) mentioned meeting a neighbor via an introduction from their landlord. Four participants reported meeting other neighbors at a party or other group activity in their neighborhood that they had been invited to.

Subjects made initial contact with neighbors in many ways

Another commonly mentioned method for meeting new neighbors was to proactively make initial contact. Six of our eight participants described a proactive behavior in making initial contact in meeting neighbors. Four participants reported introducing themselves to others while outside in a public space, and three participants reported creating an opportunity for meeting neighbors such as walking outside when they saw neighbors or walking their dog by neighbors they wanted to meet. Two participants mentioned knocking on the doors of their neighbors that they hadn’t previously met.

Subjects mentioned using online tools as one way to gather information about neighbors

Our third most common method used for getting to know people in the community was through the use of electronic tools and online resources. Participants were not shy about using a computer to find out about neighbors and community activities. The mention of social networking tools like Facebook was frequent in our observations though its use varied from searching about their neighbors to finding certain local groups. The sequence below (Figure 3) shows how one of our participants turned to Facebook groups to find local mothers of young children. While two of our participants mentioned using Facebook to meet people in their local community, two other participants hesitated to use online tools and referred to the act of searching for information as “creeping.”  We also noticed a wide variation of how participants digitally organize their contact information once obtained. Six of eight participants mentioned putting contact information directly into their smart phones. One person said he would email himself the contact information and use Gmail search to find it every time he needed it. Another person kept an email from their landlord in their email folder and continued to refer to it over and over again.



equence_Analysis_JB_P2.jpg

Figure 3: The sequence model demonstrates how an individual used Facebook

to search for new groups in their local community. The individual entered the search term "moms"

because the term is a major part of her life experience and has high probability to return successful

results. Arrows show the sequence of the actions. Straight arrows mark an immediate progression to

            the next step.  Crinkled arrows mark progression where an interruption occurred.

Interview Results

From our interviews we identified five themes:

  1. There is no universal definition of “neighborhood” or ”knowing neighbors”
  2. People are limited by external and personal factors in learning about their neighbors
  3. People had concerns about technology and the information shared with neighbors
  4. People connected to others by networking through other people
  5. People identified safety and security as a reason to know their neighbors

There is no universal definition of “neighborhood” or ”knowing neighbors”

Four participants provided the name of their neighborhood, but P4 was unable to name her neighborhood.  When asked if she knew the name of her neighborhood that she lived in, she replied, “There’s no official name because it is not an association.  Actually, if there is, I don’t know.  There’s no such sign or anything...so I don’t think it has a name.”  And although P5 was one of the participants who was able to identify their neighborhood by name, she had to rely on the interviewer for the definition of the size of the neighborhood.  When asked about the number of people in her neighborhood, she asked the interviewer, “Neighborhood, meaning? Like what boundaries?”  The interviewee was unclear if their neighborhood was meant to extend beyond their named neighborhood.

We discovered the concept of knowing a neighbor was ambiguous.  When asked how much does knowing the first names of their neighbors help the interviewee feel like they’re part of a community, P1 stated “More so than not knowing their names, but I would feel more part of a community if I actually knew them.”  Upon further prompting, the interviewee was unable to define the pieces of information that would improve the state of knowing more about their neighbors. P3 indicated the importance of knowing a name to improve their connection with a stranger. He explained, “If I just say hi to a stranger or a stranger just says hi to me, whereas if someone says hi and then my name then I feel like there is a little bit more of a personal connection.” Though P3 made this explanation, he indicated that knowing more may not be necessary.  It isn’t essential because you can have friendly interactions with people without knowing their name and be seemingly part of the community.  You can take part in similar events or you can see people and say hi without knowing them more intimately or just knowing more about them really.” 

People are limited by external and personal factors learning about neighbors

We found participants were only able to retain limited knowledge of the neighbors.  For neighbors names, three of the participants mentioned having trouble retaining names of their neighbors. P4 mentioned, “I really need a strong effort to remember their names and I tried to associate things with them...I can only remember right now the ones who are next to us.”  P1 also had trouble with names, saying, “I remember a couple of them, but names is a very weakness of mine, like very bad with names, so that’s my bad.” P3 admitted, “I mean there’s actually relatively few I know by name and exactly where they live where I’d say like within the next couple blocks. There’s probably 6-10.”  A potential reason for the lack of retaining information like names was brought up by P2.  She explained, “Knowing their names is fine and I mean, but I don’t have daily interactions with them.”

All five participants identified external and personal barriers that prevented them from interacting more with their neighbors.  P1 and P5 indicated weather as a reason for not running into their neighbors.  P5 stated, “It’s funny cause like in the winter everyone’s cooped up but it’s easier probably in the you know, the warmer weather months ‘cause people are mowing the lawn or even walking the dog…” P1 said,  “My first thing that I noticed after having had an endless summer for the last four months, is I came back and wow people always have their heads down. Because you're so cold and so you're hiding. When it's warmer out people are overall happier and friendlier and overall more open to meeting people.” In addition, all five participants mentioned personal barriers they experienced while getting to know more about their neighbors.  Two of the participants attributed work or life schedules as obstacles in getting to know their neighbors.  P3 stated, “For awhile it was my work schedule, I was gone a lot at times when my neighbors would be home or I’d be awake a lot when my neighbors would be gone.” P2 mentioned her own personality as a reason for not knowing her neighbors.  She explained, “If you’re looking at like the Myers-Briggs introverted versus extroverted; I’m introverted...If I never met another human being in my community ever, it wouldn’t disturb me.”

People had concerns about technology and information shared with neighbors

We learned participants were skeptical about the use of technology to acquire information about their neighbors. Three of five participants voiced concerns about the use of technology. After asking whether she would consider technology as a means of getting to know more about her neighbors, P2 said no, explaining, “To me it’s stalkerish, I mean if people are willing to do it, then they’re willing to do it.” P5 asked questions in response to a discussion on using Facebook to learn more about her neighbors. “Do you want them to see them that much? And do you want them to see how much that you post on the site? Do you want to keep those things separate ya know maybe sometimes?”  She followed up her questions with, “Like let’s keep a little bit you know to ourselves kinda thing”.

Two other participants expressed hesitation to use technology to initiate relationships with neighbors. P3 explained, “If I’m gonna start to know someone better and have some sort of neighborly relations with them, I would say it would have to start in person more than anything.” P1 similarly mentioned, “As much as I like designing things for social media, I don't, like, talking through social media kind of creeps me out, so I wouldn't really go with that approach.” The participants indicated the first time they connect with new people should be done in person instead of using technology like social media.

People connected to others by networking through other people

Three of the five participants mentioned they had friends they knew who were either in close by neighborhoods or part of their current neighborhood.  P3 noted “Some of my neighbors, Nick and Ilya, are friends of a friend who I actually knew before moving to this area but I didn’t know they lived here before I moved here.”  P4 stated, “We also have friends who lived in the town nearby and they know a lot people there. They are always getting to know people and getting people’s names. They have a church in that town. So they are big in knowing people’s names, getting people’s names and getting to know people who live in the neighborhood.”

Participants indicated they included friends in neighborhood events to help them connect with others.  P1 discussed a gala event in her building, saying, “Well I brought one of my friends from home and we just went around looking at art and talking to art people and just talking to different people...But it was more a casual thing than speed dating.” P3 was able to meet two downstairs neighbors in his building by inviting them an event he was hosting.  He explained,  “When we had a get together in our apartment with our friends, we invited some other people from within our building. So we ya know reached out to invite them and tell them they were very welcome to join us if they like and some of them did.”  P4 experienced the reverse-side of an invitation when she and her husband were invited over for Christmas dinner, “...about Christmas time one of the owners decided to have like a Christmas dinner for everyone to meet that lives in that 12-unit dwelling.”

Each participant was able to describe situations where they met neighbors in a group situation. P4 encountered her neighbors at one point through a fireworks display.  She described the situation as, “...we were out on our decks there were fireworks outside and everyone came out to their decks so we saw some of the neighbors on the other side.”  P4 recalled another situation of meeting neighbors from her deck, “I met some that way too outside on the deck… outside the front door, I was walking outside for something…And we had people coming over...I went outside to meet them and to bring them inside and one of the neighbors was outside and I met her that way too.”  

People identified safety and security as a reason to know their neighbors

Four of the participants mentioned the topic of security during the interview process. P1 said that since this was her first apartment, her parents “wanted [her] to have somewhere that was like safer and so that kind of drove the location.”  As part of a discussion on how knowing neighbors was important, P1 noted in an emergency “there is a concierge in my building...so if I run really fast...then hopefully the concierge will save me.” P4 explained that knowing her neighbors, “is good for security purposes...so knowing when you are away you kinda keep an eye on each other’s places and you kinda look out for each other.”  She continued to explain, “It’s always better to know who your neighbors are and be friendly with them and have a sense of family that gives a sense of security.”

Two of the interviewees described their approach to safety and security. P2 mentioned that her neighborhood was fairly good, but if there were hooligans in her neighborhood, she would, “...approach them and say you know, ‘This activity is kinda not great, could you please you know stop it’ or you know worst case scenarios, you call the police and have them become involved.” P5 described how she defined barriers and rules for managing when her son could interact with other neighborhood children.  She stated, “I’m probably more conservative where I want to, I need to know where he is at all times.”

Survey Results

We uncovered several key themes in our survey data analysis. (For all survey questions, please refer to Appendix F:  Survey Questionnaire.)  Some of the questions served to confirm the expected results, such as:  

New neighbors do approach each other

When it came to approaching or being approached by neighbors, there was slight majority of respondents (57%) who had approached their neighbors to introduce themselves, while 51% of people were approached by their neighbors.  

It can be difficult to meet your neighbors

A slight minority of people (48%) felt it was difficult to meet their neighbors, while 25% were neutral on that point.  When comparing the attitudes of urban versus suburban residents, slightly more urban residents (54%) found it difficult to meet their neighbors as compared to 43% of suburban residents. A full 25% of respondents were neutral on this point.  Our statistical analysis (see details below) did not find significance.

It is important to know your neighbors

Sixty-three percent of respondents thought getting to know their neighbors was important, while 25% were ambivalent, meaning 12% did not think it was important to know their neighbors.   Apparently, most of the 63% of respondents who thought it was important to know neighbors had made the effort to get to know at least one, as 61% of our respondents answered that they could contact a neighbor if necessary.

Other results were unexpected, including:

People did not meet their neighbors through friends

When asked to mark the answer that best indicated their reaction to the statement "I met a number of my neighbors by being introduced through a friend", 42% disagreed, and 28% strongly disagreed that they had met neighbors through friends. Only 10% of respondents reported meeting neighbors through friends.

People meet through chance encounters

We found the most participant agreement related to questions about how people met their neighbors.  A majority of respondents  (71%) strongly agreed with the statement that people met their neighbors through chance encounters.   We also found that a majority of respondents (72%) strongly disagreed with the statement that they met their neighbors through a friend.  When it came to events designed to help neighbors meet each other, 87% said they had not met people by holding their own event.  Likewise, 70% disagreed they met people through events held by others.   These findings support the importance of chance encounters for meeting neighbors.

Knocking on doors is for other people, not me

We found that 65% of people were comfortable with neighbors knocking on their door while 73% of people were not comfortable knocking on their neighbors’ doors.  In other words, our respondents were receptive to the idea that a neighbor might knock on their door as a way to meet, but our respondents wouldn't be comfortable doing the same.  

Satisfaction with how many faces recognized

The first stage in getting to know people in your neighborhood is to recognize faces.  Facial recognition tells us that a person belongs in the neighborhood, isn’t just visiting, and might be encountered again.  Suburban and Urban residents were similar in the number of people they recognized, with 33% of suburbanites recognizing between 1 and 5 faces, as opposed to 38% of urbanites recognizing between 1 and 5 faces.  When looking at how many people recognized between 6 and 10 faces, 30% of suburban and 27% of urban residents recognized that many, while both groups were very similar when it came to recognizing between 11 and 15 faces, at 20% - 21% each.

Question: How many neighbors’ faces do you recognize?

Question: How satisfied are you with the number of faces you recognize?

Suburban Faces Recognized

Suburban Satisfaction

with number of faces recognized

Urban Faces Recognized

Urban Satisfaction with number of faces recognized

1-5           33%

6-10         30%

11-15       20%

agree                   56%

      (16% Strongly)

neutral                 13%

disagree              23%

      (.03% strongly)

1-5         38%

6-10       27%

11-15     21%

agree         33%

neutral       35%

disagree    31%

none strongly

Satisfaction with the number of people for whom they have contact information

One of the later stages in getting to know people in your neighborhood is to obtain contact information.  Our survey asked respondents to identify for how many people they knew key pieces of contact information like last name, address, cellphone number, landline number, and email address.    One of the most valuable pieces of information is cell phone number, as it facilitates a personal and immediate communication mode.  Looking at the results of how many respondents had cell phone numbers for their neighbors we found the following:

Many residents, both urban and suburban did not have cell phone numbers for any of their neighbors (43% Suburban and 42% Urban).  A larger percentage of them reported having cellphone numbers for between 1 and 5 neighbors, at 53% for Suburban, and 46% for Urban.  Satisfaction was higher for suburban residents, at 53%, as compared to urban residents’ satisfaction, at 35%.   Looking at the percentage of respondents who were neutral on satisfaction, nearly twice as many urbanites as suburbanites reported being neutral.  The two groups reported the same percentage of dissatisfaction with the number of people for whom they had cell phone numbers, at 23%.

Question: For how many neighbors do you have a cellphone number? 

Question:  How satisfied are you with the number of people for whom you have contact information?

Suburban cellphone numbers known

Suburban Satisfaction with number of people for whom they have contact information

Urban cellphone numbers known

Urban Satisfaction with number of people for whom they have contact information

None             43 %

1-5                53 %

6-10            0.03 %

11-15              0%

16-20              0%

More than 20  0%

agree               53%

neutral             23%

disagree          23%

None                   42%

1-5                      46%

6-10                 0.08% 11-15                    0%

16-20              0.02 %

More than 20  0.02 %

agree          35%

neutral        42%

disagree     23%

These four questions were part of the analysis to support Hypothesis #1 which was “Urban people are less satisfied with how well they have gotten to know their neighbors than Suburban people”.  

Hypothesis Testing

The survey was designed to test three hypotheses, all comparing experiences of urban versus suburban residents:

  1. Urban people are less satisfied with how well they have gotten to know their neighbors than Suburban people
  2. Urban people have more difficulty getting to know neighbors than Suburban people
  3. Suburban people put in more effort to get to know neighbors than urban people

Because our hypotheses were about the differences in experiences for suburban and urban people, we tested our hypotheses using the 62 respondents who indicated they lived in an Urban or Suburban area.

Hypothesis 1: Urban people are less satisfied with how well they have gotten to know their neighbors than Suburban people

We measured satisfaction in three ways:

  1. The satisfaction in the number of neighbors they recognize
  2. The satisfaction in the number of neighbors they have contact information for
  3. The satisfaction in the number of neighbors they know by first name

For satisfaction in the areas of “recognizing neighbors” and “contact information”, we could not reject our null hypothesis, and thus were not able to determine if urban people were less satisfied than Suburban people.

For satisfaction in the area of “first names”, we were able to find significance to indicate urban people were less satisfied than Suburban people [t(60) = 2.56, p = .01, d = .69]. We evaluated Cohen’s d with a result of d = .69, which indicates a Medium Effect Size.

Hypothesis 2: Urban people have more difficulty getting to know neighbors than Suburban people

For this hypothesis, we measured difficulty directly with the question, “Thinking back to when you first moved into your current home, mark the answer that best indicates your reaction to the statement ‘It was difficult to get to know my neighbors’”. Based on the analysis of the response data [t(60) = .23, p = .82], we could not reject the null hypothesis and thus could not determine if urban people had more difficulty than Suburban people.

Hypothesis 3: Suburban people put in more effort to get to know neighbors than urban people

We measured effort in three areas:

  1. Comfort with knocking on a neighbor’s door
  2. Approached neighbors to introduce themselves
  3. Arranged events to meet neighbors

For all three areas, we could not reject our null hypothesis, and thus were not able to determine if Suburban people put more effort than urban people in getting to know neighbors. See Appendix I for the T-testing tables.

After reviewing the data comparing experiences and attitudes of urban versus suburban residents’ experiences with getting to know their neighbors, we found that only one part of our first hypothesis had significance:  It revealed that people who live in urban areas are less satisfied with how well they know neighbors by first name. This had a medium effect size, meaning it was a fairly strong finding.  The other two hypotheses didn’t attain statistical significance.  Still, the data gathered by the survey, and the insights it gave were valuable.

Personas

Personas are fictional people created by the research team to represent the needs of typical users.  Often, several personas are developed for each project, to represent larger groups of users with differing goals, strengths and motivations.  Designers and developers refer to their preferences as they make decisions on design and functionality.  Characteristics of personas are based on data from research done on actual users.

We created personas based on our observations, interviews, and survey data. The personas represent the experiences of people in urban and suburban areas as they move to new neighborhoods.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/BuKXOQFG7LazR6vDhOPBKx5fm2_hQ89LLpKEeGJCLDYWrfft-FFZovbkh5ybfk1NTqsSuXUkC160RwrW1AnfS4IU3AElbpnzHsDwsMCRmfJDzxuoVfacxhTZamiY4eKS6f_g2PY

Figure 4: Sarah Sickles, one of our urban personas

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/W3hDujMO-dR3V8aS9vVgg9D37KA_iiAOD5DBm7tPw0BEFy1GnnZPctdcGJU-e3O6W8OZr4-eKsXF-q4FIhTaPS-OSoRgvZ_MPBkl0L7Uzj4rwcVJNKU2PazNkPPpjlZQHI18r3Y

Figure 5: David Minor, one of our suburban personas

Scenarios

After our observations, interviews, and surveys, we created two scenarios that represent typical user tasks. The scenarios describe how each of our defined personas would approach meeting neighbors after moving to a new neighborhood.

Sarah Sickles (Urban Persona)

Sarah Sickles just moved into her new building a few days ago. She’s heard her neighbors’ voices and seen evidence of their coming and going, but still hasn’t had a face-to-face interaction because of being busy unpacking. On Saturday morning, she walks through the hallway and down the stairs towards the common area, where the mailboxes are. While opening her mailbox, a man walks in the front door. He introduces himself as Brian, and says that he lives upstairs on the other side of the building. Sarah has a short conversation where Brian suggests a few nearby restaurants, before he ends up leaving to check his laundry. Later, when Sarah goes to lunch, she realizes that she’s already forgotten her neighbor’s name.

David Minor (Suburban Persona)


David Minor just moved into his new house a few days ago. He’s seen the neighbors drive by, but still hasn’t had a face-to-face interaction because of being busy unpacking. On Saturday morning, he walks outside and down the driveway to get the newspaper. While picking up the newspaper, a couple walks by with their child in a stroller. They introduce themselves as Chris, Emlyn, and little Catherine, and they live three houses down. David has a short conversation where Sarah suggests a few local restaurants. Chris and Sarah also invite David and his wife to an upcoming barbeque, before they end up leaving to put Catherine down for her nap. Later, when David goes to lunch, he realizes that he’s already forgotten her neighbor’s names, but is glad that he will see them again soon at the barbeque.

Discussion         

Moving to a new city can be a troubling experience. Beyond the logistics of packing, moving, unpacking, and decorating a new home, a person may not know anyone nearby or in the city at all. How people establish themselves in a community varies by the person.  For some it can be taxing to fit in with their busy work and family lives. According to Redhead & Brereton (2008), the low visibility of community resources could be a contributing factor in the difficulty people face when integrating into their new communities. Erickson (2010) however talks about possibilities arising from the prevalence of social media especially because of the amount of location data available from those services. With these concepts in mind, we performed three studies about how people interact with their neighbors and their communities.  The first study was observational, the second study was an interview, and the third was a survey.

During our observational study of eight participants we identified three themes

  1. Subjects met people through others
  2. Subjects made initial contact with neighbors in many ways
  3. Subjects mentioned using online tools as one way to gather information about neighbors

For our interviews, in which we interviewed 5 new subjects, we identified five themes

  1. There is no universal definition of “neighborhood” or ”knowing neighbors”
  2. People are limited by external and personal factors in learning about neighbors
  3. People had concerns about technology and information shared with neighbors
  4. People connected to others by networking through other people
  5. People identified safety and security as a reason to know their neighbors

After analyzing the survey results, which included responses from 62 qualified people, we learned the following:

  1. People meet neighbors mainly through chance encounters
  2. People did not meet their neighbors through friends
  3. Knocking on doors is for other people, not me
  4. Urban residents recognize their neighbors’ faces almost equally as often
  5. As suburban residents
  6. Suburban residents are more satisfied with the number of faces they recognize in their neighborhood as compared to urban residents
  7. Urban and suburban residents were equally likely to have no neighbor’s cell phone numbers
  8. Suburban residents were more likely to have cell phone numbers for between 1 and 5 neighbors, as compared to urban residents.
  9. It was rare for either group to have cell phone numbers for more than 5 neighbors.
  10. Suburban residents are more satisfied with the number of people for whom they have cell phone numbers, as compared to urban residents.
  11. Urban residents are more likely to be neither satisfied nor dissatisfied about the number of cell phone contacts they had among neighbors.

Combining the data and themes with the results data we collected from the survey, we derived five concepts covering the collection of our research.

People had difficulty getting to know neighbors. Almost half of survey participants indicated they found it difficult to get to know their neighbors. This response confirmed our suspicions that the insights participants provided during the observations and interviews gave us. However, the variety of difficulties contained in those insights is interesting. Participants mentioned difficulties related to weather, job priorities, and personal attitudes towards knowing neighbors. In the case of external factors like winter weather or job responsibilities, the limitations involved are arguably based on timing and location. A tool that leverages the Internet could overcome those limitations, bypassing the logistical issues of distance and timing. Although, the tool would face other difficulties we found, i.e. personal attitudes towards the idea of getting to know neighbors or the visibility of community resources Redhead & Brereton (2008) acknowledged in their research. These difficulties are also not limited to the type of area people live in. Our survey results found that urban and suburban individuals indicated similar levels of difficulty in getting to know neighbors. This suggests the level of perceived difficulties is not unique to a particular area. It should be noted that our research did not attempt to identify if the difficulties were similar or different between the two areas, this could lead to interesting future research.

Random chance and impromptu meetings were prevalent factors in how individuals first encountered their neighbors. Three-fourths of survey respondents noted meeting neighbors through chance encounters. We observed instances of this theme early on with our observations and interviews when participants discussed how they first met neighbors. Participants recalled meeting neighbors while outside their homes, during activities such as going to retrieve mail from their mailbox. Although these impromptu first meetings helped establish contact, the efficacy for chance encounters helping to develop a deeper relationship with neighbors is unknown; participants noted they were able to gather information like first names, job descriptions, and other surface information, but had trouble retaining the information for future use.

Another component of this concept comes from our investigation to determine if individuals met neighbors at events they either attended or arranged. Although our observations and interviews included mentions of meeting neighbors at social gatherings, most of the survey respondents indicated they did not meet neighbors by either arranging or attending events. Seventy-one percent said that they hadn’t met a neighbor by attending an event, while 87% said that they hadn’t met a neighbor by arranging an event. We acknowledge there are limitations in our questions about arranging or attending events as respondents may have different interpretations of the word “event.” If organized events did not facilitate people getting to know their neighbors but chance encounters did, is it possible to increase chance encounters between neighbors? In addition, it is unclear why so few survey respondents identified events as a means for meeting neighbors when it came up in our observations and interviews. A possible design implication for a future solution taken from this concept could be to facilitate increasing impromptu encounters with neighbors through an application.

Meeting neighbors through friends. A third theme we identified through our observations and interviews was that participants leveraged friends as part of meeting neighbors. Participants of the observations and interviews mentioned situations where they either connected with neighbors through friends or neighbors they already knew. However, when we asked survey respondents about meeting neighbors through friends, 72% of respondents indicated they did not meet neighbors through their friends, we found this strange considering only 23% indicated they preferred to introduce themselves. With this conflicting information, focused research would be necessary to determine if friends are truly a viable method for meeting neighbors.

Urban participants were less satisfied than suburban participants with the number of neighbors they knew by first name. We were able to confirm our hypothesis that urban survey respondents were less satisfied than suburban respondents when it came to the number of first names of their neighbors that they knew. In addition, urban individuals made up the majority of survey respondents who indicated they only knew one to five neighbors’ first names. This would suggest urban individuals might have less intimate relationships with their neighbors than suburban. Our survey found that digital tools like phone contact lists and social media are used to maintain information about neighbors, though people still relied mostly on memory. As we also heard about chance interactions with neighbors, it may be that these tools are cumbersome or inconvenient and that peoples’ memories were poor at maintaining that information. A potential design consideration could be reducing the effort involved in exchanging the information between people while still factoring in security and each individual’s comfort level with sharing information.

Varied and inconsistent use of technology. Our fifth concept involves how individuals used online resources when getting to know neighbors. In our interviews and observations, we identified individuals used digital technology in various ways to look up and manage information on neighbors. During our observations, we had participants who used online tools to find and interact with neighbors. With our surveys, people reported they used various digital tools to keep track of their neighbors’ information such as social media, emails, and phone contacts. However, our research also found that people had some concerns with how technology was used. Participants in both the observation and interviews considered using social media to look up information on neighbors as creepy and an invasion of privacy. This means despite people using technology to keep track of neighbor information, there is a moderate stigma against looking up personal information, meaning that obtaining accurate information may be more difficult when peoples memories fail them. Interestingly, our participants did not report using neighborhood apps such as BandofNeighbors.com or Nextdoor.com.  Our findings though may make Erickson’s (2010) suggestion of the potential of social media and location-based services more difficult, as future developers will need to account for concerns about privacy and social stigmas. Certainly these factors will be hurdles in developing solutions and presenting them for public consumption.

A future design challenge may be to try to change the perception of this stigma. This may be easier for individuals who have grown up in a world where social media has been available for the majority of their lives.  As a future research opportunity, it would be important to identify the level of personal information people would be willing to share online with their neighbors. Identifying comfort zones would likely provide avenues in which to build applications that people would be comfortable using when sharing information with their neighbors.

Conclusion and Future Work

In 2009, Patricia Greenfield of UCLA put forth a theory that as the socio-demographics of a neighborhood changed, so too did the cultural values. The theory, in essence, created a scale where on one end was smaller, low tech and simpler rural communities, and on the other end were larger, high tech and complex urban societies. The importance of this study on our work was that, as people became closer to the urban end of the spectrum, social relations became weaker and more fleeting, with strangers playing more specialized and thus more easily replaced and less intimate roles. Our study based our hypotheses around this theory, believing that urban and suburban populations would differ in their relationships with their neighbors.

While two of our hypotheses failed to provide significant results, we did have significant results that people in urban settings were less satisfied with the number of neighbors they knew by first name as compared to their suburban counterparts.   We could not prove that urban people reported having a harder time getting to know their neighbors or that suburban residents put in more effort in getting to know their neighbors. This aligned with Greenfield’s theory that more urbanized individuals would have less intimate relationships with their neighbors. What is interesting here is that a majority of people thought getting to know their neighbors was important and were willing to approach their neighbors to introduce themselves. Thus some other factor prevented urban individuals from initiating satisfactory relationships with their neighbors.

Though only one of our hypotheses proved significant, our study did find interesting results that were informative for other concepts we discussed.  For instance, respondents had trouble meeting their neighbors no matter the setting, urban or suburban.  People were very open to the idea of their neighbors coming to knock on their door, but the majority were not comfortable knocking on their neighbors’ doors to introduce themselves.  Even though people had the opportunity to proactively go out and meet neighbors, our research found that almost all first contact was incidental.  Some of the strongest feedback was that people did not meet their neighbors at local events or gatherings.

In the future, related research could include studies determining comfort levels of sharing information using technology that could be used to strengthen neighborly connections. It would be interesting to see if people felt closer to their neighbors when they had access to more in depth information about them.  It’s possible that going beyond just recognizing faces or knowing first names would help people become more integrated with other people in their community.  We would also like to study the differences in magnitude between those neighbors who met through incidental means as opposed to those relationships that were created through more intimate relations like friends and family. 

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge our team member, Leo Primero.  Although he could not complete this study along with us, he was a key participant in its formation and early phases.


Appendix

Appendix A. Informed Consent Form - Observation

ADULT CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH 

Building Local Communities

Principal Investigator: ________________________, MS candidate in Human Computer Interaction at DePaul University.

Institution: DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA

College: College of Computing and Digital Media

Faculty Advisor: Sheena Erete, PhD; DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media

Collaborators: Dominic Amato, Jason Boggs, Julia Davies, Leo Primero III, Amanda Ruzin; DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media

What is the purpose of this research?

We are asking you to be in a research study because we are trying to learn more about how people meet their neighbors, grow and maintain relationships with them, build a sense of community, and identify common problems that individuals have when attempting to meet neighbors. This study is being conducted by ________________________, a graduate student at DePaul University as a requirement to obtain their Masters degree. Their faculty advisor, Sheena Erete, PhD, is supervising this research.

We hope to include about 5 people in the research.

Why are you being asked to be in the research?

You are invited to participate in this study because you moved to your community within the last 5 years, are between the ages of 18 and 55, and do not live in an assisted living facility or institutional housing i.e. college dormitories.

What is involved in being in the research study?

If you agree to be in this study, being in the research involves describing how you interacted/interact with your neighbors and learned more about them. This may include reenacting or simulating the steps used while the researcher observes.

While we are observing these actions we may ask questions intermittently, though this study is meant for you to show us your process. The observation will be followed by a short debrief that we may use to clarify something we did not understand during the observation.

The researcher may also record audio with your consent, abstaining from audio recording does not disqualify you from the study. The purpose for the audio recordings is so that they can be transcribed into written notes later for review and comparison.

How much time will this take?

This study will take about 30 minutes of your time.

Are there any risks involved in participating in this study?

Being in this study does not involve any risks other than what you would encounter in daily life. Personal information recorded will be abstracted so that no identifying information will be published in any report. (See below for information regarding confidentiality.)

 

Are there any benefits to participating in this study?

You will not personally benefit from being in this study. We hope that what we learn will help other people in the future create a local community with their neighbors more easily.

Can you decide not to participate?

Your participation is voluntary, which means you can choose not to participate. There will be no negative consequences, penalties, or loss of benefits if you decide not to participate or change your mind later and withdraw from the research after you begin participating.

Who will see our study information and how will the confidentiality of the information collected for the research be protected?

The research records will be kept and stored securely. Your information will be combined with information from other people taking part in the study. When we write about the study or publish a paper to share the research with other researchers, we will write about the combined information we have gathered. We will not include your name or any information that will directly identify you. We will make every effort to prevent anyone who is not on the research team from knowing that you gave us information, or what that information is. However, some people might review or copy our records that may identify you in order to make sure we are following the required rules, laws, and regulations. For example, the DePaul University Institutional Review Board may review your information. If they look at our records, they will keep your information confidential.

If audio was recorded during the observation, the audio recordings will be kept until accurate written notes have been made, then they will be destroyed.

You should know that there are some circumstances in which we may have to show your information to other people. For example, the law may require us to show your information to a court or to tell authorities if you report information about a child being abused or neglected or if you pose a danger to yourself or someone else.

Who should be contacted for more information about the research?

Before you decide whether to accept this invitation to take part in the study, please ask any questions that might come to mind now. Later, if you have questions, suggestions, concerns, or complaints about the study or you want to get additional information or provide input about this research, you can contact the researcher,

Name: ____________________ Phone: __________________ Email:____________________

You will be given a copy of this information to keep for your records.

Statement of Consent from the Subject:

I have read the above information. I have had all my questions and concerns answered. By signing below, I indicate my consent to be in the research.

Signature:        _________________________          

Printed name:         _________________________

Date:                 _________________________


Appendix B. Written Observations

Jason Boggs - Observation 1

Gender: Female                         Age: 54                         Time in neighborhood: 2.5 years

Location of Observation: Participant’s Office

Interactions (with Sequences)

Meet Snow blowing Neighbor (simulation)

  1. From inside the participant’s house, looked through window of house to the outside.
  2. Exited the house and approached the neighbor while the neighbor was using a snow blower.
  3. Called out “Hi there!” to neighbor.
  4. Introduced self to the neighbor.
  5. Asked question, “Why are you still blowing your drive?”
  1. Note: participant was originally from California, where winter weather is uncommon.

First Next Door Neighbor encounter (simulation)

  1. From inside the participant’s house, looked through window of house to the outside.
  2. Exited the house and approached the neighbor.
  3. Introduced self to the neighbor.
  4. Asked questions of neighbor
  • “What kinds of places are in the area?”
  • “What are the other neighbors like around here?”
  • “So how about yourself?” (Prompt for neighbor to open up about themselves.”

First Meeting Neighbor Across the Street (simulation)

  1. Young child spotted moving truck in participant’s driveway.
  2. A mover operated a truck contained inside the moving truck, driving the truck out of the back end of the moving truck.
  3. Young child asked father for permission to approach the “lady” (participant).
  4. Young child walked up to the participant.
  5. Young child introduced himself to the participant.
  6. Young child asked if they could take photos for show and tell at the child’s school.
  7. Participant, Child, and Father of the child continued the conversation.

Tools Used

  • Local websites
  • Sites related to politics and township/village information
  • Curiosity
  • Lead to the initiation of conversation with the snow blowing neighbor
  • Part of initiation of conversation with other neighbors
  • Google
  • Did not Google or search up other information on neighbors
  • Questions
  • Used questions as method to discover information on neighbors, neighborhood, and the community.
  • Often asked questions of people outside, in the public community space

Organization Methods

  • Knowledge Collections
  • Geographic Information
  • Township and village lines
  • Restaurants
  • Municipal Buildings
  • Community Leaders
  • Clergymen of the local Church
  • Mayor
  • State Farm Agent (heavily involved in the community)

Reflection

Participant noted weather was an issue when they first moved in.  They mentioned how the winter weather caused people to stay indoors and it was hard to engage neighbors right away; the participant had moved into the neighborhood during wintertime.  When Spring came around, more people were outside in the community.  This provided the participant more opportunities to use her interpersonal skills to engage the community.

The participant noted that many of the neighbors were proactive in helping other neighbors.  In one of the instances, when the neighbors of the participant learned that she was alone for a period of time--her husband had stayed behind in California for a short time--the neighbors helped keep her driveway and walkways shoveled.  The participant also noted there were young neighbors in the area who would help out older members with different activities like groceries or checking in to see if they were okay.  

From the observations, it appears as though the participant ended up in a neighborhood that had a vibrant and active local community, a majority of which was welcoming and friendly.  And due to the personality of the participant, she had a high success rate of integrating into the community.

Jason Boggs - Observation 2

Gender: Female                         Age: 34                          Time in neighborhood: 3 years

Location of Observation: Participant’s Home

Interactions (with Sequences)

Find local Facebook Group (live demonstration on participant’s laptop)

  1. Login to Facebook (web)
  2. Enter the string “moms” in the search bar.
  • Context sensitive results displayed based on the search term.
  • Participant clicked on one of the groups from the search results.
  • Noted the reason for the selection was due to the size of the group.
  1. Clicked on “Join” button located on the group’s main Facebook Page.

Interrupt: waited for group acceptance of join request.

  1. Clicked on main post text box and entered in a description of her current life

           situation, family information, and interests of the participant’s family.

  1. Clicked on the submit button to create the post.

Interrupt: waited for post responses.

  1. Read through replies associated to the original post.

Next door neighbor, first meeting (simulation)

  1. Participant looked over the fence of her neighbor.
  2. Yelled out in the direction of their neighbors to invite them over.
  3. Neighbors walked over to the front porch of the participant’s home.
  4. The participant initiated a conversation with the neighbors.
  5. The participant offered the neighbors wine the participant had available.

Tools Used

  • Facebook
  • Searched using terms like “Moms” and other traits the participant identified with herself and her family
  • Outdoor activities (Dog walking, running, walking)
  • Used dog as a potential method to draw initial attention to initiate neighbor interaction.
  • Clubs (Sports, Scouts, etc.)
  • Entered son into sports to encourage son to meet more people as well as meet other parents
  • Attended church services
  • Entered son into Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts
  • Invitations (Verbal)
  • Would extend invitations to neighbors to draw neighbors over
  • Sometimes the invitations would involve the offer of alcohol

Organization Methods

  • Social Gathering Locations
  • Outdoors
  • Front Porch
  • Sidewalks
  • Church
  • Sports fields and buildings
  • Physical Activities
  • Running, Jogging
  • Dog Walking
  • Sports (Son)

Reflection

Although the participant engaged in a number of activities to create situations where she could meet her neighbors, many of those situations did not end successfully. She mentioned a situation where she walked her dog and encountered one of her female neighbors.  The woman approached the participant and stated how much she loved the dog.  The two women walked around the block until they reached the neighbor’s house.  The participant was introduced to the neighbor’s husband.  After talking with the husband for a period of time, he made several racially charged comments as part of the conversation, which made the participant uncomfortable.

The participant discussed a number of situations where she faced rejection while attempting to connect with members of the community.  She also noted occasions where she was able to connect with particular neighbors, but a number of those families moved away from the neighborhood and communication between those parties ceased.  

Even with a number of varied strategies for attempting to meet new neighbors, the participant achieved limited success in attempting to build ties to the community. The participant noted her frustrations about not finding others even though she specifically looked for and found other neighbors and community members who shared similar interests or life experiences.

At one point during the observation, her son began retching upstairs. He had been sick for a few days and had not recovered yet.  After making sure he was okay, there was a discussion between her and her husband regarding how they were going to get him to the hospital for further care.  Both parents had health and work schedule issues that prevented them from being able to take him to the hospital.  She returned to the table, noting it would be helpful “If I had a neighbor I could ask to take him [son] to the hospital.”

Appendix C. Informed Consent Form - Interview

ADULT CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH

Building Local Communities

Principal Investigator: ____________________, MS candidate in Human Computer Interaction at DePaul University.

Institution: DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA

College: College of Computing and Digital Media

Faculty Advisor: Sheena Erete, PhD; DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media

Collaborators: Dominic Amato, Jason Boggs, Julia Davies, Leo Primero III, Amanda Ruzin; DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media

What is the purpose of this research?

We are asking you to be in a research study because we are trying to learn more about how people meet their neighbors, grow and maintain relationships with them, build a sense of community, and identify common problems that individuals have when attempting to meet neighbors. This study is being conducted by ____________________, a graduate student at DePaul University as a requirement to obtain our Master’s degree. Our faculty advisor, Sheena Erete, PhD, is supervising this research.

We hope to include about 5 people in the research.

Why are you being asked to be in the research?

You are invited to participate in this study because you moved to your community within the last 5 years, are between the ages of 18 and 55, and do not live in an assisted living facility or institutional housing i.e. college dormitories.

What is involved in being in the research study?

If you agree to be in this study, being in the research involves an interview concerning how you interacted/interact with your neighbors and learned more about them. We have prepared questions for this purpose.

The researcher may also record audio with your consent. Abstaining from audio recording does not disqualify you from the study. The purpose for the audio recordings is so that they can be transcribed into written notes later for review and comparison.

How much time will this take?

This study will take about 30 minutes of your time.

Are there any risks involved in participating in this study?

Being in this study does not involve any risks other than what you would encounter in daily life. Personal information recorded will be abstracted so that no identifying information will be published in any report. (See below for information regarding confidentiality.)

Are there any benefits to participating in this study?

You will not personally benefit from being in this study.  We hope that what we learn will help other people in the future create a local community with their neighbors more easily.

Can you decide not to participate?

Your participation is voluntary, which means you can choose not to participate.  There will be no negative consequences, penalties, or loss of benefits if you decide not to participate or change your mind later and withdraw from the research after you begin participating.

Who will see our study information and how will the confidentiality of the information collected for the research be protected?

The research records will be kept and stored securely. Your information will be combined with information from other people taking part in the study. When we write about the study or publish a paper to share the research with other researchers, we will write about the combined information we have gathered. We will not include your name or any information that will directly identify you. We will make every effort to prevent anyone who is not on the research team from knowing that you gave us information, or what that information is.  However, some people might review or copy our records that may identify you in order to make sure we are following the required rules, laws, and regulations.  For example, the DePaul University Institutional Review Board may review your information.  If they look at our records, they will keep your information confidential.

If audio was recorded during the observation, the audio recordings will be kept until accurate written notes have been made, then they will be destroyed.

You should know that there are some circumstances in which we may have to show your information to other people. For example, the law may require us to show your information to a court or to tell authorities if you report information about a child being abused or neglected or if you pose a danger to yourself or someone else.

Who should be contacted for more information about the research?

Before you decide whether to accept this invitation to take part in the study, please ask any questions that might come to mind now.  Later, if you have questions, suggestions, concerns, or complaints about the study or you want to get additional information or provide input about this research, you can contact the researcher,

Name: ____________________    Phone: ____________________   Email: ____________________

You will be given a copy of this information to keep for your records.

Statement of Consent from the Subject:

I have read the above information.  I have had all my questions and concerns answered. By signing below, I indicate my consent to be in the research.

Signature: _______________________________________________             

Printed name: ____________________________________________

Date: ___________________________________________________


Appendix D. Interview Transcription

Julia:        Hi Jill, my name is Julia and I'm going to interview you today about knowing your neighbors.  I’m a grad student at DePaul University, currently taking an Inquiry Methods and Use Analysis class as part of the Human Computer Interaction program. I’m also part of a team investigating how individuals who move to new communities may approach creating situations to meet their neighbors.

The interview session should take at most 30 minutes. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with the questions asked and want to stop the interview, please let me know and we can stop the interview.

With your permission, I'd like to record our conversation to make sure I keep an accurate record of our conversation. Do I have your permission to record?

P5:        Yes.

JD:             Thank you.  Ok let’s start with the interview. Um How long have you lived in your current home?

P5:        ahhh, uum let's see, we moved in... it's been 3 1/2 years.

JD:             OK.  That's about how long I've been in mine too.

P5:        Yeah

JD:             OK and what factors led you to moving to this location?

P5:        um school district, um size of the home, and uh neighborhood in general.

JD:             um about how many of the people in your neighborhood have you met would you say?

P5:        neighborhood meaning...? like? what boundaries?

JD:             Right, so I dunno, maybe within like say the 10 houses in a circle around you.

P5:        we know everybody

JD:             [laughing] - everyone? ah that's great that's great

P5:         yeah        

JD:             how did that come about?

P5:         Ummmm I would say mostly because of the kids

JD:             yeah

P5:         being at the bus stop

JD:             mmhmmm

P5:         a quick introduction standing there waiting for them or dropping them off in the morning

um everyone everyone within our you know 10 - house radius goes to the same stop.

so if they have school age kids... er you know they're going to that stop and most everybody does so ...

JD:             right. and so how would you describe your neighbors?

P5:         Oh interesting uummm [thinking] I would say umm outgoing friendly ummm

we all have you know again, a lot in common because we all have school age kids so um I think that's the common denominator.  Ummm yeah, everyone is really I mean everyone is really ... you know nice nice people you know we don't really have any any issues

JD:             were there any other ways that you met your neighbors besides the bus stop?

P5:         Ummm well what comes to mind is when we were first moving in umm that day um they they meaning the ones that are our house backed up to, um immediately came over and said - it was summertime, you know we're having a having a a bonfire or fire pit c'mon over

JD:             oh thats so nice

P5:         cmon over - cause you know the kids are the same age you know        

umm yeah so everybody was came to your door with brownies when we moved in, or cookies

JD:             Really? That’s so 1950’s...

P5:         yeah, our immediate you know on both sides yeah or across the street yeah, so

JD:             that's great [interruption from barista]

ummm so would you say that you know the first and the last names of your neighbors and which houses they all live in?

P5:        I I do, yeah

JD:             Really.  Wow.

P5:         I - maybe not last names off the top of my head, but um yeah first definitely kids names, but maybe not the last names.  If I needed that I could go to the neighborhood directory we have.

JD:             Oh Oh that's nice.  Who put that together?

P5:         mmmm hmmm that's the HOA

JD:             oh the homeowners association?  That's nice.  Wow. I've never lived in a neighborhood that did that.

P5:         really?

JD:             well we created our own, but never had an HOA that did it

P5:         yeah, I think it's I mean you know it comes every year, and it's updated, so I'm assuming, yeah, the HOA did that

JD:             that's really nice umm.  So how does knowing the first names of your neighbors help uh help you feel like you're part of a community?

P5:        well I   I guess it just makes me feel like you um you know you aren't just in your same neighborhood the same space, you actually have, you have a um ... you know it's more personal, rather than just waving  at someone you know you don't even know their names, you're just passing them on the street

JD:        um so if you wanted to know more about your neighbors uh what are some of the strategies that you would take?

P5:         i guess, well, it's funny cause like in the winter everyone's cooped up umm but it's easier probably in the you know in the warmer weather months cause people are mowing the lawn, or even walking the dog and we have a dog a common denominator too there ... if  it's not kids it's a dog or it's you know um yeah I mean I guess it's like its just if they're out and you're walking by you know you can strike up a conversation, or um have something in common like a pet, or ... yeah

JD:    

OK, um would you ever consider technology as a means of getting to know your neighbors?

P5:         ummm yeah, sure.  I would think so.

JD:             um have you ever used any technology or online tools or anything like that to get more information about your neighbors?

P5:         laughing - pause it's funny umm [pause] and I don't think so.  It's funny because I, I think ... I'm I'm not like really friends on Facebook or anything with any of them, which is interesting.  Well a couple, but not as many as you would think.  Um and I don't know why that is.  I mean you see them and you're friends with them but so you forget about actually friending them on on social media

JD:     I find the same thing - it's like, well, I see them all the time, why...

P5:         Right right right do you you know ... it do you it depends, do you want them do you want to see them that much?  and do you want them to see how much that you post on the site?  Do you want to keep those things separate ya know maybe sometimes? Like ya know?

JD:             right [laughing] are they my friends or are they my neighbors?

P5:         yah right, yeah are they acquaintances or are they...? yeah, so

JD:             right Um [pause] Would you would it make you uncomfortable to share  ummmm some of the

        details of your everyday life with your neighbors?

P5:         probably.  Yeah, they don't need to know everything. Right?  a little selective here and there.

JD:             absolutely

P5:         yeah yeah, I I that's why I think our close neighbors I'm I know they're on Facebook but I have not friended them for that very reason.  Like let's keep a little bit you know to ourselves kinda thing

JD:             setting those boundaries

P5:         yeah exactly mm hhmm  mm hhmm

JD:             well it's the same way that Facebook is in general you know I don't need everyone to know everything

P5:         for sure - yeah it's become a thing

JD:             um so do you have um do you have contact information for most of your neighbors that live near you so if you needed a favor or you needed to call them up, or invite them somewhere you'd be able to?  

P5:         Yeah mm  hmmm usually they just tell me their cell phone and we text a lot

JD:             oh ok

P5:         just the immediate need

JD:             and how did you initially get that information?

P5:         mostly for the kids, like if for play dates reasons and stuff like that umm yeah I would say we exchange numbers just to say OK, I'm sending the kids home, or did the kids go into your house, or kinda keep track of them through their moms.

JD:             as they move around the neighborhood?

P5:         yeah yeah, mmm hmmm

JD:             good  um in what ways would you consider knowing your neighbors to be important?

P5:         well again, it's like a broken record here, with the kids.  If I'm running late, I can text someone and they can you know, when when Charlie was younger, umm could grab him from the bus stop and keep him 'til I get home.  Now he walks you know he walks home and I'm there usually when he gets home but um the other day, Tuesday I ran out of aluminum foil, randomly and I had to bake something so I texted my immediates and Charlie ran and got aluminum foil

JD:             oh that's nice

P5:         umm cup you know it's the typical "cup of sugar" kinda thing  ummm yeah, we can pretty much as long as you know someone's home, anything you need, you can pretty much you know get from that maybe that group of 4 or 5 immediate people.

JD:             awesome ummm Is there anything that has prevented you from getting to know certain neighbors?  Is there any situations where ummm they live near you but you don't really know who they are?

P5:         yeah, ummmm  I'm trying to think... I would say you know ones that maybe have older kids, you know high school, that again it comes back to the kids ummm you might unless you're you  know maybe need a babysitter then the high school kids come in handy but ummm

but yeah that would be the only reason that I wouldn't have any interaction with the immediates because we don't have - the kids don't play together or we don't have that thing in common.

JD:             yeah right

P5:         ummm

JD:             ummm is there anything else you want to tell me about um settling into your

neighborhood or getting to know the people that live around you?  

P5:         yeah, I think what you said earlier about boundaries umm is interesting because when we first moved in, we didn't have in our old neighborhood we didn't have as many school age kids.  There were some smatterings here and there, but our immediates were umm middle school or high school, so coming to our neighborhood moving in and getting acclimated, and Charlie having you know same age boys right in his back yard - it was challenging to set up boundaries, as cause they'd come to the door you know anytime of the day, you know wanting to come in, and he'd never experienced that before.  He was like "Wow this is so great!  I can play whenever I want!" but not realizing that you know just because they're there doesn't mean you're you're available. Ummm... And so that was a transition and a challenge, I think ummm you know cause there has to be a there's it's not all sunshine and roses because I had to pull back and say you know this isn't working for us and some moms, I'll say moms, ummm you know would let them out anytime of the day and you know if you were eating, or you know it's like, it's mealtime. Everybody will reconvene when you know when everyone is done.  In the backyard.  You don't have to come to the door, and you know you knock on the door, and everybody gets up and you know you have to go to the door, and have to tell them no.  You know I thought about putting a sign on the door at one point saying Yes we can yes we're available,  no we're not.  It's that kind of thing.

JD:             so the red sign is up... red means stop

P5:         yeah, exactly, stop or go.  Cause there are advantages of having playmates in the backyard, completely, but it's also about you know when there are different parenting styles ya know and some some parents letting their kids out, and people have different parenting styles let their kids out  and don't want to see them until it's dark out

JD:             ... when the street lights come on...

P5:         yeah, exactly  and some ya know, I'm probably more conservative where I want to I need to know where he is at all times

JD:             mmm hmmm

P5:         umm yeah, that was a challenge that was the biggest challenge, the biggest hurdle to get over was the boundaries. Not even so much for the kids, because I don't blame the kids, it's the parents setting up boundaries and stuff.  When we're available and when we're not

JD:     ... and having an understanding about how each family operates

P5:         exactly  mm hmmm

JD:              yeah, interesting

P5:         yeah

JD:            um so overall are you happy with where you live, and it sounds like you have a very social

        neighborhood

P5:         yeah we do, yeah and again, that has its pros and cons. you have to set your boundaries for the kids, for the grownups. I mean there can be a lot of overlap if you allow it.  Kids get together, then the parents get together and it can be a so [interruption from Jill's little boy - gotta pee]  yeah I mean it's - we've never had anything like this, you know, anywhere.  Ummm we used to live in the city and you'd get on the elevator with your neighbors and you wouldn't even look at each other, you know, and now its the complete opposite where we're in each other's each other's business all the time, with kids, and you're right there, and ....

JD:             so did you move directly from the city to where you are now?

P5:         no, we  we, when we got married we were in the city and then when when Charlie came we moved to Bartlett and we were there for 6 years and then we came over here.

JD:             Was there a big difference between Bartlett and St. Charles?

P5:         yeah, mm hmm

JD:             in terms of what, what was different?

P5:         in terms of I guess our immediate neighborhood there wasn't as many ummm kids exactly their ages, so we'd have to plan playdates and get in the car and drive, versus having the neighborhood be so busting with same age kids, so that really made a big difference

JD:             yeah, very convenient

P5:         yeah, mmm hmmm they could be at the door anytime

JD:             [laughing] definitely

P5:         but as they're getting older, it's changed, I mean when we moved Charlie was going into first grade, so what's that - that's 7 years old.  So but now they a lot of the kids are established in their um sports, they have a lot more activities I think versus you know when they were younger they a lot of them relied on each other to be their social network.  But now I think they're all the neighborhood kids are kinda getting their own friends, doing their sports, kinda settling in to their routines, so it's it's a little bit different as they get older.

[Jill's little boy has been telling her he has to go potty]

JD:             Good, well - he has a need - do you want to take a break?

P5:         Ok we're back

JD:             Well thank you for participating today.

  

    


Appendix E:  Interview Protocol

Interview Protocol

Introduction

Hi, ________________. My name is ________________ and I’m going to interview you today about knowing your neighbors. I’m a graduate student at DePaul University, currently taking an Inquiry Methods and Use Analysis class as part of the HCI (Human Computer Interaction) program. I’m also part of a team investigating how individuals who move to new communities may approach creating situations to meet their neighbors.

The interview session should take at most 30 minutes. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with the questions asked and want to stop the interview, please let me know and we can stop the interview.

With your permission, I would like to record our conversation to make sure I keep an accurate record of our conversation. Do I have your permission to record?

[If yes.] Thank you.

[If no.] I understand. Will it be alright if I take notes of our conversation instead? Thank you.

Great, now let’s start the interview.

Warm-up Questions

  1. How long have you lived in your current home?

  1. What factors led to you moving to this location?

General issues

  1. About how many of the people in your neighborhood have you met?

  1. How would you describe your neighbors?

Deep Focus

1.   Think about the neighbors you had when you moved into your home. Can you name as many of your neighbors as you can remember?

2.   Are there other ways you’ve reached out to meet your neighbors? What was the outcome of those interactions? (getting at how much initiative they have taken to meet others)

3.   How much does knowing just the first names of your neighbors help you feel like you’re part of the community?  

4.        Would you consider technology a means of (getting to know/knowing) more about your neighbors? What and how would you use it?

[If yes]

        [if no]

5.   What are some strategies you have used to get contact information so you could contact a neighbor later if you needed to?

Retrospective

  1. In what ways would you consider knowing your neighbors to be important?

  1. Is there anything in particular that has prevented you from getting to know your neighbors?

Wrap-up

  1. Before we end this interview, do you have any final thoughts on the things we’ve talked about today?

Demographics

  1. Gender?
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Prefer not to answer

  1. What city and state do you live in?

  1. What is the name of the neighborhood that you live in?

  1. How many other people do you share your home with?

  1. Relationship Status?
  1. Single
  2. Married
  3. Divorced
  4. Widowed
  5. Separated

  1. Age Range?
  1. 18-24
  2. 25-34
  3. 35-49
  4. 49-55

  1. Ethnicity?
  1. White Caucasian
  2. Hispanic
  3. African American
  4. Native American
  5. Asian/ Pacific Islander
  6. Other
  7. Prefer not to answer

I appreciate you taking the time today to talk with me.  If you have any questions regarding the interview, please feel free to contact me by email: ________________ or   phone: ________________.


Appendix F. Survey Questionnaire

This survey is intended to learn more about how people meet their neighbors, grow and maintain relationships with them, and build a sense of community.  It also seeks to identify common problems encountered when attempting to meet neighbors.

For the purposes of this survey, your neighborhood is the area nearby, within about ¼ mile around your home.   Neighbors are the people who live near you, within that area.  

Your survey answers are completely confidential and will only be used for our research purposes. There will be no sales or marketing follow-ups as result of your participation in this survey. There is no monetary compensation for your participation in the research. You will have our thanks for participating in the survey and for the time it takes to complete the survey. This survey was created and will be administered by graduate students in DePaul University’s Human-Computer Interaction program. If you have any questions or comments about the survey, please email them to ARUZIN@mail.depaul.edu.

#

Question

Instruction

Answers

Reasons

Territory 1: People living in urban areas have different experiences getting to know their neighbors than people living in suburban areas.

Hypotheses:

  1. As compared to people living in suburban areas, those who live in urban areas are less satisfied with how well they have gotten to know their neighbors.
  2. As compared to people living in suburban areas, those who live in urban areas have more difficulty getting to know neighbors.

1

Which of the following best describes the area where you live?

Select one

Urban

Suburban

Rural

Other (please specify)

[To determine independent variable of where the participant lives]

2

Considering the neighborhood to be the area within ¼ mile of your home, how many people live in your neighborhood?

Select one

Fewer than 10

Between 10 and 25

Between 25 and 50

Between 50 and 100

Between 100 and 200

More than 200

I don’t know

[To get the participant thinking about their neighborhood and neighbors]

3

I own my home

Select one

Yes

No

N/A

[To gauge whether there is a correlation between ownership and how many people they know]

4

I rent my home

Select one

Yes

No

N/A

[To gauge whether there is a correlation between renter ship and how many people they know]

5

How long has it been since you last moved to a new residence?

Select one

Less than 1 year

Between 1 and 2 years

Between 2 and 5 years

Between 5 and 10 years

Between 10 and 15 years

Between 15 and 20 years

More than 20 years

Not sure

[To understand how long the participant has been in the local community]

6

Thinking about the last time you moved, approximately how many people in your new neighborhood did you know before moving in?  (By “know” we mean you knew their first name, last name, address, and phone number.)

Select one

3 or more

Two

One

None

Not sure

[To understand their starting point for getting to know neighbors]

7

How many of your neighbors’ faces do you recognize?

Select one

None

Between 1 and 5

Between 6 and 10

Between 11 and 15

Between 16 and 20

More than 20

I don’t know

[To gauge how integrated they are to the social fabric of the neighborhood]

8

Mark the answer that best indicates your reaction to the following:

“I am satisfied with the number of neighbors I recognize”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge how satisfied they are with the number of neighbors they recognize]

9

With how many neighbors are you on a first name basis?

Select one

None

Between 1 and 5

Between 6 and 10

Between 11 and 15

Between 16 and 20

More than 20

I don’t know

[To get the participant thinking about their relationships with their neighbors and how close they are with their neighbors]

10

Mark the answer that best indicates your reaction to the following:

“I am satisfied with the number of neighbors I know by first name”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge how satisfied they are with the number of neighbors for whom they only know a first name]

11

For how many neighbors do you have contact information (defined as at least 3 out of 6 of the following:  

  • first name,
  • last name,
  • land line phone number,
  • cell phone number,
  • home address,
  • email address

Matrix

0

Between 1 and 5

Between 6 and 10

Between 11 and 15

Between 16 and 20

More than 20

I don’t know

[To find out how solid (or casual) their relationships with their neighbors are]

12

Mark the answer that best indicates your reaction to the following:

“I am satisfied with the number of neighbors for whom I have contact information”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge how satisfied they are with the number of neighbors for whom they have contact information]

13

Mark the answer that best indicates your reaction to the following:

“If I needed help from a neighbor, I would be able to contact someone nearby.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge how connected to their neighbors they are]

14

Mark the answer that best indicates your reaction to the following:

“Thinking back to when I first moved into my current home, it was difficult to get to know my neighbors”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge how difficult they found getting to know their neighbors when they first moved to their neighborhood]

15

How often do you talk with at least one of your neighbors?

Select one

Every Day

2-3 times per week

Once a month

A few times a year

Never

[To gauge how much they interact with their neighbors]

Territory 2: People have cognitive dissonance between how they say they want to meet neighbors and the energy that they actually expend in meeting neighbors.

Hypotheses:

  1. Suburban people put in more effort to get to know neighbors than urban people put in effort to get to know neighbors.

16

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement

“Getting to know my neighbors is important.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge their level of commitment to becoming familiar with people in the neighborhood]

17

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement

“I am comfortable with knocking on my neighbors’ doors to introduce myself.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge their level of introversion / extroversion or need for privacy]

18

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement

“I am comfortable with neighbors knocking on my door to introduce themselves.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge their level of introversion / extroversion or need for privacy]

19

Since you moved into your current home, how many of your neighbors have you met?”

Select one

None

Between 1 and 5

Between 6 and 10

Between 11 and 15

Between 16 and 20

More than 20

I don’t know

[We should see if there is any link between effort level and familiarity]

20

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement:

“Neighbors have approached me to introduce themselves.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge the level of introversion / extroversion (friendliness) of surrounding neighbors]

21

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement:

“I prefer to be introduced to people by someone I already know.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge the level of introversion / extroversion (friendliness) of the surveyee]

22

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement:

“I have approached my neighbors to introduce myself.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge the level of effort put into meeting neighbors]

23

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement:

“I met a number of my neighbors by arranging an event for the purpose of meeting people.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge the level of effort put into meeting neighbors - active]

24

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement:

“I met a number of my neighbors by attending an event someone else arranged for the purpose of meeting people.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge the level of effort put into meeting neighbors - passive]

25

Please select the following ways that you met at least one neighbor. You can select as few or as many as apply. [Or “Please select one or more ways which applies to how you met your neighbors.”]

Multi-select

Through a chance encounter

I was approached by a neighbor

I approached a neighbor

I met a neighbor outdoors

I met a neighbor indoors

I knocked on a neighbor's door

I met a neighbor through friends

I met a neighbor at an organized event

Other [fill in the blank]

None of the above

26

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement:

“I met a number of my neighbors by chance encounters.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge the level of effort put into meeting neighbors]

27

Please select the following ways that you keep track of information about your neighbors. You can select as few or as many as apply. [Or “Please select one or more ways which applies to how you keep track of information about your neighbors.”]

Multi select

My memory

In my phone contacts

In email

Ask a family member

In an address book

Other [fill in the blank]

None of the above

28

Mark the answer that best represents how you feel about the following statement:

“I met a number of my neighbors by being introduced through a friend.”

Likert

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

[To gauge the level of effort put into meeting neighbors]

Demographic Data

29

What is your age?

Under 18

18-29

30-39

40-49

50-59

60+

Prefer not to say

[Need to prevent underage respondents from taking the survey and to gather demographic information]

30

What is your gender?

Male

Female

Prefer not to answer

[To gather demographic information]

31

What City and State/Country do you live in?

[Open ended]

[To gather demographic information]

32

How many people live in your home, including yourself?

1

2

3

4

5

6 or more

Prefer not to answer

[To gather demographic information]

33

What kind of building do you live in?

Single family home

Townhome

Condominium  

Apartment

Assisted living facility

Dormitory

Other (please specify)

Prefer not to say

[To prevent people living in assisted housing facilities or other institutional housing from participating in the survey, to better understand the type of home the respondent lives in.]

34

What is your relationship status?

Single

Married

Divorced

Widowed

Separated

Prefer not to answer

[To gather demographic information]

Appendix G. Persona Spectrums

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/VeevPDvXZfanoaSJUXckOnrftB0KQY0JZe80gha17uSSACXj3mGMQQGp3E5z1MjXR23PpkGsnDrHIdebVlpAqqp_r6wyVikuxudbvqVgkJT3iYTgN83wx2BWFugHECucrIHMBi4



Appendix H. Task Matrix

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/_w0WmhwBBZvChFackjVIVPFlqynGWnFRtzOQgTX_mjuLm6L3dbqG3HLXqQDFKt80-z44Hx04whdNuwdMWXJlU5PHJ3GRY1A6LJEXOsEX5oj_PvY5VHg_JB6r7CaD7NUzOIwKE0w

Sarah Sickles

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/JAIpz-5g3vk4MzfyJBjmYUiLquRuNmnQHMqvdo29s3TG7BR29lXJZY7t3xBHE7UPHRfQDS46BKvjEdO4bW0i7_Q-XRQyIE-TlebAGMupmXdc704shy8lPFoUOIb6Y4eIimD6iVc

David Minor

Likelihood

Importance

Likelihood

Importance

Methods for meeting neighbors

Chance meeting

High

High

High

High

Proactively seeking neighbors out

Medium

Medium

Medium

High

Outdoor meeting

High

Medium

High

High

Indoor meeting

Medium

Medium

Low

Low

Knocking on doors

Low

Low

Low

Low

Meeting through friends

Medium

High

Medium

Medium

Meeting at an organized event (church/school/community)

Low

Low

Medium

Medium

Methods for keeping track of neighbors’ information

Their memory

High

High

High

High

Info in their phone contacts

High

Medium

High

Medium

Ask a family member

Low

Low

Medium

Low

In an address book

Low

Low

Low

Low

Email

Medium

Low

Low

Low


Appendix I. T-Test Tables

T Testing for Hypothesis 1: “Urban people are less satisfied with how well they have gotten to know their neighbors than Suburban people.”

“Satisfied with number of neighbors I recognize”

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neither agree or disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

Suburban

1

4

2

9

5

Urban

0

14

13

10

4

T-Test

t(60) = 1.82, p = .07

“Satisfied with number of neighbors for whom I have contact info”

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neither agree or disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

Suburban

0

5

5

6

5

Urban

2

8

16

12

3

T-Test

t(60) = 1.36, p = .18

“Satisfied with number of neighbors I know by first name”

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neither agree or disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

Suburban

0

4

3

9

5

Urban

3

15

11

6

6

T-Test

t(60) = 2.56, p = .01

Cohen’s d

d = .69

T Testing for Hypothesis 2: “Urban people have more difficulty getting to know neighbors than Suburban people”

“It was difficult to get to know my neighbors”

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neither agree or disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

Suburban

1

4

7

7

2

Urban

7

3

9

14

8

T-Test

t(60) = .23, p = .82

T-Testing for Hypothesis 3: “Suburban people put in more effort to get to know neighbors than urban people”

“Comfortable knocking on my neighbors door”

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neither agree or Disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

Suburban

4

13

1

2

1

Urban

13

17

2

7

2

T-Test

t(60) = .09, p = .93

“I have approached my neighbors to introduce myself”

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neither agree or Disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

Suburban

4

5

11

1

4

Urban

4

13

3

17

4

T-Test*

t(60) = 1.22, p = .23

“Met neighbors by arranging an event”

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neither agree or Disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

Suburban

13

3

3

2

0

Urban

22

16

2

1

0

T-Test*

t(60) = .60, p = .55

*- Could not assume equality of variances based on not reaching significance for Levine’s Test for Equality of Variances.


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Dominic Amato | Jason Boggs  | Julia Davies | Amanda Ruzin