SFU PhD student connects you to your neighbour

June 23, 2017

by Maika Nguyen

Do you ever wish you could just thank your neighbour for being a quiet person? Or let them know you’re happy to feed their cat while away?

If the extent of your interaction with your neighbours is a polite hello, you’re like many other Vancouverites who feel a sense of urban isolation in this city.

That’s where the Hello Neighbour project comes in.

Lead by Tara Mahoney, an SFU PhD student and the creative director of Gen Why Media in partnership with Tin Can Studios, Hello Neighbour aims to strengthen community resilience by inviting participants to offer small acts of kindness and support to their neighbours by sending them a hand-made postcard in the mail.

The free, mobile participatory art project was installed at SFU’s Vancouver campus at Harbour Centre during the university’s C2U Expo, an international conference on university-community collaboration.

Now that many of the 200+ postcards have been sent out and received, Gen Why Media has begun posting them online for public viewing.

Postcard submission
Postcard submission

Participants chose between a fill-in-the-blank postcard with prompts or a blank postcard to write their own custom message. Some example of the prompts included:

I’m available for walks! Text me at _______.

If you need help, call/text me at _______.

Do you want share our stuff? I can share my ______.

After participants make their postcards, the Gen Why team stamps and mails them out.

For more information about GenWhy and how you can get involved please visit their website.

Want to connect with your neighbour? Luckily, as their website states, "[A]lmost everyone knows their neighbour's address because it's right beside their own!"

You can view the postcards here.