Steven Clift of e-Democracy.org is an amazing wealth of experience, knowledge, and vision in the Gov 2.0, OpenGov effort. From Minnesota's first e-portal, to bridging modern efforts involving the latest web technologies and trends with real people taking real action inside communities across the world; Mr. Clift, has been fostering an assortment of valuable ideas and efforts to meet needs in modern democracies.
People need to connect to their governments, and people need to connect with other's: friends, but also civic-minded neighbors. Neighborly, is a very loosely run open-source project by Clift's e-Democracy.org with the goal of connecting neighbors in communities using real names discussing real issues. It's a simple idea with not-so-simple technical requirements, resource demands, and citizen/user expectations.
So, thinking about Neighborly prompted this idea...
Right now, in the Forums, people are associated in pre-defined groups. Each forum is inherently closed, although it may be easy to join a Local Forum.
It seems, using technology, a person could tune-in to geo-specific news. So, rather than forcing a person to pre-identify and participate in 1 group (and one location), it would allow people to gather streams of local information, based on geography.
In practice, this functionality could be mixed into current infrastructures.
Update: May 2011
The Neighborly effort has been renamed to BeNeighbors.
We still encourage you to check it and participate!
Update: May 2011 Networking Neighborhoods: One of the hottest categories in geolocation is neighborhood networking. The vision for many of these apps is to strengthen the very fabric of our communities. With DeHood, you can keep track of what’s happening in your neighborhood, share your favorite places, and grease the wheels for actually meeting people. After all, if you’ve made contact through the app, it’s a lot easier to say “Hello” in the real world. Blasterous is another that lets you share information locally, whereas does this on an anonymous basis. Finally, NeighborGoods uses your street address to facilitate one-to-one borrowing and trading of useful stuff. In the end, making connections with your neighbors can lead to safer, more productive, and more sustainable communities (source).