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.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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

cent

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 side­line@side­line.co.nz for in­for­ma­tion.

Photo: KA­RINA ABA­DIA

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.

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