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Do you know who your neighbors are? Or what they do? I certainly don’t. But I did more than know all of my parents’ and grandmother’s neighbors growing up. I ran down to borrow and fetch my mum onion and garlic when she’d run out, and happily opened the door to their offerings of homemade bakery and desserts. Residents watched and safeguarded their neighborhood, long before technology aggregated the urban fabric with its shiny dark screens. Let’s imagine together a section through a high-rise in Manhattan. Take a look at all of those residents, are you seeing what I am seeing? Many of them are staring at their phones and laptops, barely engaging with their housemates, and flooded in a digital world of remote platforms.
Naybr is a digital application and a physical urban module intended to revitalize a sense of community that once sparked our urban fabric. Location-specific apps are plenty, but they’re mostly focused on dating, market space, and targeted networking. Naybr instead focuses on unassuming human interaction and aims to connect you with your neighbors in a time when community is key to survival. Within a discretionary radius, it gives you access to a spectrum of opportunities: location-specific experiences and recommendations; relevant notifications (such as roof-top workouts, gatherings, barbeques, noise, etc.); neighborhood-related coordination; pet watchers and plant-watering volunteers; ride sharing opportunities; and food societies.
When you sign up you can find out if you have a doctor right around the block in case of emergencies, or a baby sitter to watch the kids and dog as you take a long run in your neighborhood. The application provides you with a platform to explore your neighbors, unlock community services, coordinate rides, meet your neighbors’ pets and many other unforeseen opportunities.
In combination with the digital application, Naybr proposes a physical urban module that promotes outdoor engagement and exchange.
Because Naybr is based on the understanding that a community spirit cannot be entirely digital, the app is coupled with round-the-corner sharing pods. Each modular pod is comprised of shelves that act as a catalyst in revitalizing unassuming human interaction. The block-based pods aim to spark a sense of security and community to the right of ways as well as mitigate ownership borders beyond fences and doorways. Whether you sharing scarce resources with neighbors in a socially-distant time, or leaving out some books for others to enjoy, it’s dignified placed in the sharing pod rather than on the sidewalk.
The circular shelf typology could be mounted onto existing outdoor poles, or introduced onto a simple on-grade column and base. The Naybr app helps you locate the closest sharing pod and get directions to it, as well as review the items currently listed by neighbors in the pod. A digital lock system could be applied to some of the shelves for controlled exchange. This way I can still run down and pick up some onion and garlic from neighbors, and share some cookies too!
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for this submission
American University of Beirut
Fashion Institute of Technology
Portland State University