After connecting 160,000 neighbourhoods in the United States, the UK and the Netherlands, Nextdoor social network launched in Europe’s largest internet market – Germany. 200 German neighborhoods were tested ahead of the official launch, and the company aims to have thousands logged on to the website by the end of this year.

For this to happen, Nextdoor put its trust in veteran internet executive Marcus Rieke to run Germany’s national offices from Berlin. Rieke was the head of eBay’s German local selling site and CEO of StudiVZ, an ex-rival to Facebook. To join Germany’s Nextdoor network, members must sign up with their their real names and home addresses. Without having a member’s data verified, s/he will not be able to join conversations, since they are only accessible among verified local neighbors and are not available via Google or other search engines.

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Nextdoor is managed by a team of 180 people who are passionate about building stronger and safer neighborhoods. Based in San Francisco, California, Nextdoor was founded in 2010 and is funded by Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tiger Global Management, and Shasta Ventures as well as other investors and Silicon Valley angels. “We created this company because we believe that the neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person’s life. We hope that neighbors everywhere will use the Nextdoor platform to build stronger and safer neighborhoods around the world,” their mission statement reads.

However, Nextdoor isn’t the only social network for neighborhoods out there; there’s also the Ontario-based goneighbour.org and the Dubai-based hoodi.co. Turning to on-the-ground social networks, San Francisco-based artist Hunter Franks believes that neighbourhoods are a vital pillar of a person’s life and in turn in the collective urban life. In 2015, the artist brought together 22 neighborhoods of Akron, Ohio, on a dining table on the Innerbelt Freeway that separates them. Franks’ idea cultivated a demand among the people gathered for a public space to properly connect the neighborhoods together. After being granted $214,420 from the Knight Cities Challenge to replace the closed freeway in Akron with a lush forest and public space, within three months, the people of Akron will begin to reap the rewards of years of campaigning.

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