0244: /pantry


What would a shared neighborhood pantry look like?  This.

You just got a great recipe online for jambalaya and you have all the ingredients needed to pull it off… except one.  One bay leaf.   Now you are left with some choices.  Get yourself down to the grocery store, fighting 6 pm rush hour traffic, and grab a $7 container of bay leaves of which you may use three single leaves over the next year.  Or don’t include the bay leaf, and always wonder what your dish would have tasted like if you had made it properly.

With the local web, there is a third option.  Post your request for a single bay leaf to localweb.is/pantry.   There is a good chance that someone within a 3 minute walk has a single bay leaf they can spare. /pantry or “slash pantry” is an experiment and a movement.  It’s a way to share the items in your cupboards with your neighbors but without some centralized pantry or food bank.  People post requests of what they need and others offer to help.  Or if you are going on vacation and you just got a dozen eggs that won’t last, offer it up to /pantry.  Or you thought you were being adventurous with those kale chips but it turns out they aren’t your thing.  Well someone on /pantry might want them, or at least try them.

/pantry works well in suburban neighborhoods but really shines in urban cities where it feels as if an entire apartment building is pooling resources.  While sharing food stuffs is convenient, in the process of doing so residents are also sharing recipes, cooking tips, and interactions that is bringing everyone a little bit closer together.

A few generations ago people would think nothing of going next door to borrow a cup of sugar.  Then the internet happened and things changed and people became siloed.  Then the local web happened and the silos were opened up and sugar again flows freely with the magic of /pantry.

We are building the local web and sharing a new way to use it each day.

Signup at localweb.is

Image via Joanna Alderson on Flickr

0193: /new-neighbors


Explore the neighborhood             before you move in

When looking for a house to buy the experience can be very managed and guarded by the relevant parties.  The agents and current homeowners all have their own agenda.  Often key pieces of information are left out of the listing.  That’s why those seeking to buy a home have turned to the residents themselves using the local web.

If there is a house you really want to buy, drop a few questions in localweb.is/new-neighbors first.  The URL is location-based so it will only reach those within 2 miles.  Many residents view the URL on a 100 yard filter, so literally only those on the block may see your question.

What are the schools really like? Does anyone know anything about the development that is going up across the road? Are the mosquitoes bad from the nearby conservation area?  Is the home built on an old pet cemetery?

The answers to these questions are usually not in the listing, nor do the agents know, nor does the homeowner feel inclined to tell you. But current residents in the neighborhood are more than happy to give you the scoop.

The best part is that /new-neighbors isn’t some service you have to sign up for or an app you have to download.  It’s a URL.  One of those things you type into your browser on your phone while you are sitting outside the house waiting for the agent to give you a showing.

If you are looking to move to another city and have a neighborhood in mind, you can even set your location to that street and drop some questions in /new-neighbors there.  This is an example of people using the local web to circumvent traditional guardians of knowledge. Current residents participate in the URL because they know that they would appreciate it if the roles were reversed.

And once you have moved in, /new-neighbors is the perfect place to meet others, all from the comfort of your own home/browser.

We are building the local web and sharing a new way to use it each day.

Signup at localweb.is

Image via Dan Moyle on Flickr CC 2.0

0103: /tool-exchange


Lend and borrow tools with             your neighbors

Building or fixing something yourself can be incredibly empowering. But if you are just getting started it takes a serious investment in the right tools…some of which you might only use once. This creates a barrier to actually getting anything done.

On /tool-exchange you can ask to borrow a specific tool and others   can fill the request if they have it.  No complicated renting or                 e-commerce solution is needed; these are your neighbors, they want   to help.  And you can return the favor when they need to borrow something you have.

You can also easily develop good social conventions like including a note for when you expect to return a tool.  The owner can then reply to let people know it’s been returned, which creates just enough social pressure to ensure people get their tools back and a record of transfer if any problems arise.

And via /tool-exchange you get to meet other builders and makers within walking distance.  People of all skill levels.  Once the ice has been broken with a tool exchange, there is an opportunity for people to become mentors or mentees and learn new skills.

We are building the local web and sharing a new way to use it each day.

Signup at localweb.is

Image courtesy of Dorli Photography on Flickr | Licensed by CC2.0