Home Sweet Home Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

New Jersey, the 11th largest state in America, seamlessly blends the quiet tranquility of upscale suburbia with the fast-paced lifestyles of urban, multicultural hubs. With the vast, booming metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and New York City right at its doorsteps—and a few urban areas of its own—the state thrives on the diversity and varied backgrounds of its estimated 9 million residents (despite limited square miles, ranking it the nation’s fourth smallest in size) and countless neighborhoods...many of those neighborhoods with personalities as distinct as those of its residents.

Nestled between the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States, New Jersey is within an overnights reach of nearly one third of all the United States (and many Canadians). Such accessibility enables many oceanfront vacation areas like Jersey Shore resort towns and Atlantic City, as well as other natural and cultural attractions, all of which contribute to the attraction of an estimated 80 million tourist. What problems could possibly plague resident’s with so many fortunate state perks?

Actually, one comes to mind, specifically. While many residents may enjoy the paradoxical privacy metropolitan living that areas like Newark, Hoboken, Jersey City, Paterson, and Atlantic City provides, others may crave a sense of belonging and more of a feeling of a community.

The word “community,” like many words in the English language, has more than one interpretation. A community may be identified as a geographical location—a physical infrastructure of streets, parks and buildings, defined by tangible brick and mortar structures—but a sense of community is often emotional, intangible, and much more difficult to define; it is what makes an address a home, and not just a street location.

The concept of high-rise living—people on top of each other—or across a privacy fence in condo living, doesn’t automatically equate to a sense of community; in fact, the close proximity sometimes has opposite effect. The reality is, residents with hectic schedules and thriving careers, or those who are continuing their education and/or raising children, often have minimal time or interest in socializing with neighbors.

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