The Neighbors Issue

Two neighbors stand back to back rinsing their parked cars with hoses in their driveways. There are two matching buckets filled with soapy water and sponges between them. Illustration.Mary
Kate McDevitt

Getting familiar with the strangers next door.

Think of your neighbors before the pandemic: Their letters in
your mailbox and the inexplicable bowling-ball sounds from above,
or the person you passed on the street who looked so familiar but
you weren’t sure why.

These
weak ties
were always crucial to our sense of community, but
now, three-plus months into a routine of self-isolation that has
more of us sticking close to home and relying on our neighbors for
everything from groceries to social interaction, we’ve gotten
more acquainted with those strangers next door. We’ve met through
local mutual-aid societies that sprang up amid months of isolation,
or simply because we’re spending more time on the porch or stoop.
(This newfound intimacy might be
tinged with frustration
as we come face-to-face with each
other’s quirks.)

In Curbed’s Neighbors Issue, we look at what it means to form
relationships with the people who live closest to us, whether we
met before or during the pandemic, or whether we live in L.A.’s
bungalow courts (we stan the most neighborly form of housing in the
U.S.), a New York City apartment building, or a pair of RVs that
caravan together. As the country roils amid COVID-19 and the
renewed movement for Black lives, we’re thinking about what it
means to be a neighbor beyond our front doors. —Sara Polsky

CREDITS
Writers: Diana Budds, Jessica Gross, Hadley Meares, Zan Romanoff,
Melody Warnick, Andrew Zaleski
Editors: Sara Polsky, Mercedes Kraus
Art Direction: Alyssa Nassner
Illustrations: Mary Kate McDevitt
Copy Editors: Emma Alpern, Cynthia Orgel, Carl Rosen
Special Thanks: Mariam Aldhahi, Megan Barber, Willy Blackmore,
Marisa Carroll

Source: FS – All – Architecture 10
The Neighbors Issue