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If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?

Live TED Conversation: Join TED Fellow Candy Chang

Candy is a public installation artist, designer, and urban planner who likes to make cities more comfortable for people. She's passionate about redefining the ways we use public space to share information that can improve our neighborhoods and our personal well-being. See more of her at http://candychang.com and http://civiccenter.cc.

This conversation will open at 3pm EST on Monday, August 1, 2011.

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    Aug 1 2011: In remote places, and when visiting friends in suburbs, I've often been tempted to go door to door and ask, "Do you long for connection, but don't know what to do? Do you yearn for others you resonate with but fear it'll take too much energy and time to seek it?"

    People are so often isolated, and I often wonder if they've simply adapted to it, or the solitude is something they genuinely desire. I, rather, think they are simply fearful of taking steps to connect. Connection is so life affirming, yet sometimes so difficult to achieve.
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      Aug 4 2011: Hey Linda - Good subject and if you haven't yet, you should watch James Kunstler's highly entertaining TED talk on suburbia http://www.ted.com/talks/james_howard_kunstler_dissects_suburbia.html. Obviously I agree there are tons of benefits to local connections and I am a high-density kind of girl, but just to play out the other side... This makes me think about my parents, who live in the middle of nowhere. After many debates I realized they simply value peace and quiet over everything else right now. They have lots of friends around town but their home is a place for solitude. We want different things from our home life. Some people want to be pillars of their community. Some people want their personal time. And some people want something in between (like me). But in all cases, how can we still facilitate the platforms to share practical information at the local level? This is helpful even if you want to hole up!
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      Aug 4 2011: I personally believe that our capitalistic culture is far too individualistic. We are taught from an early age that each one of us are supposed to live in our own house and have our own property, separate from everyone else. Even today I feel very awkward when going near someone else's home, as though I am invading their property, even though in my mind I find such concept completely absurd. This materialistic consumption-based culture is designed to maximize both our division and our consumption.

      Having said that, I often watch my kids in our communal backyard, which we share with our neighbors... they often play with each others' toys and go in their friends homes. They don't believe in "property". Natives also never believed in "property". I also recently talked with a fellow from Africa and he told me that in his hometown, he can walk to anyone's house and go in, because everyone is a friend.

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