The idea of Social Street originated from the experience of the Facebook group “Residents in Fondazza street – Bologna” that started in September 2013. The purpose of Social Street is to promote socialization between neighbors resident in the same street in order to build relationships, to interchange needs, to share expertise and knowledge, to implement common interest projects, with common benefits from a closer social interaction. To reach this zero cost objective, without opening new sites or platforms, Social Street makes use of the creation of Facebook closed groups.
The objective of Social Street is to re-establish the importance of social relations and interaction, focusing not only on developed urban areas but also a return to what was once a reality and way of life in the countryside and villages where relationships were historically of fundamental importance in daily life. This modern tendency to focus on the ‘self’ has undeniable consequences: urban decay, lack of social control (ownership) of the territory, loss of a sense of belonging, and people essentially living in isolation. We allow academics to speculate and study the root causes of this situation and also accept what authority dictates to us (in terms of ways of living). Contrary to these approaches the Social Street model proposes a possible solution from the ground up and aims to recreate social ties and acknowledgment as well as changes in behaviors and interaction between neighbors. In the shift from theory to practice, we’ve observed that the main features that probably marked success (in quantitative terms - given the growing number of Social Streets nationally and internationally) are represented by:
• Facebook: To use a free medium and spread information via the social network Facebook as facilitator of the transition from the virtual to the real.
• Territoriality: The decision to restrict the closed Facebook group in a predetermined, small-sized territory.
• Free: Social Street as a model is absolutely free - at two levels: as internal trade (exclusion of do ut des) but also as macro structure.
• No prescribed structure: Every single group can act to reintroduce appropriate social relations, taking into account the peculiarities of its territory.
• Inclusion: Focusing on everything that brings people together (and excluding that which divides), being proactive in the face of the harshest criticism and not accepting being against something without being constructive, excluding languages that are not acceptable to all members of the group.
The idea of Social Street originates from the experience of the Facebook group “Residents in Fondazza street – Bologna”, which started in September 2013. In 2016 there are about 400 Social Street Facebook groups worldwide with about 50,000 members who all share a strong interest in promoting relationships.