Dealing with the dour experience of loneliness
The central city can be a pretty lonely place for residents. Karina Abadia takes a look at how organisations involved in the newly-formed Inner City Network are working to find ways to bring people together.
The challenges of apartment living and improving access to information, are two of the priorities set out by the Inner City Network.
Led by Auckland District Council of Social Services, it aims to create a more connected and communityorientated central city.
The Inner City Network is being resourced by Auckland Council and the Department of Internal Affairs. Members include charities and support services, as well as business and residential groups.
Auckland University of Technology associate professor Dr Love Chile presented the results of the paper ‘‘Experience and expression of social isolation by inner-city high-rise residents 2014’’ at the launch event held on November 13 at the Town Hall Council Chambers.
It is based on more than 400 central city residents’ survey questionnaires, 30 interviews and four focus group discussions.
About 10 per cent of respondents said they felt isolated either a lot or all of the time.
It was surprising to learn how infrequently some people socialised, Chile says.
Over half of respondents either didn’t see their family or only spent a little time with them over the previous seven days.
Interaction with friends was limited or non-existent for 42 per cent of people and the amount of people who didn’t see or only spent a little time with neighbours or new people came to more than 80 per cent.
About 50 per
of people reported they didn’t feel accepted or only felt slightly accepted by their neighbours and new people.
Creating communal areas in apartments may be one way to provide more opportunities for central city residents to interact with others, Chile says.
Parnell Trust chief executive Chris Davidson says the event brought together groups who are already trying to make a difference in the city.
‘‘The idea is to open up some opportunities to collaborate and for all those different groups to support each other,’’ Davidson says.
Information about many services is not reaching central city residents, as letterboxes in apartment buildings are often only accessible to residents, he says.
Auckland CBD Residents’ Advisory Group chairman Tim Coffey, says people have raised the issue of isolation with him in the 32 years he has lived in the central city.
The group will now review the outcomes from the launch.
There will be another network meeting in December, where working groups will be formed to tackle priority issues.
Email Inner City Network steering group chair David Haigh at email@example.com for information.
Creating connections: From left, Parnell Trust chief executive Chris Davidson, AUT associate professor Dr Love Chile and Rev John MacDonald at the Inner City Network launch.