What happens if we know the people we live close to?
That is the question on the lips of an artist and broadcaster who is carrying out a community project aiming to address isolation and get people talking.
Scottee hopes Would Like to Meet will help to turn the loneliest street in Leeds into the happiest in the city and explore whether life could be better if we know our neighbours.
Since launching the project, the 32-year-old has already had around 20 applications from people wanting to get involved.
He told the YEP: “It’s an experiment to see will we live in a happier place or are we better not talking to each other?”
Scottee, who grew up on a London council estate, was inspired to start the project after moving into a terraced house in Essex and, for the first time, finding himself isolated from his neighbours.
“In the estate, we all spoke to each other,” he said. “We all knew everybody. On the street, something different happens. Often you know what your neighbours look like but don’t talk to each other.”
The project comes at a time when, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, 2.4 million adult residents in Britain suffer from chronic loneliness.
Scottee said: “There’s been awful stories of people who have passed away and no one has found them, or of people who live in a certain place and no one knew of them.”
He said his work often focuses on social issues and bringing people together – and Would Like to Meet is no exception.
Scottee is asking people across Leeds to nominate streets that are the loneliest in the city, before he choose which residential road he will work in a bid to bring about a change.
Already, 20 nominations have been received from people throughout Leeds.
Scottee said: “Some people feel like there’s anger on their road, maybe over parking, some people say they live in houses that have been separated into flats with lots of people but they don’t talk, someone said everyone on their street keeps the blinds and curtains shut. There’s various reasons people want to take part and applications are coming in from lots of different parts of Leeds.”
The project forms part of this year’s biennial Compass Festival in Leeds in November.
Placards will be placed outside each house taking part in Scottee’s project during the festival, with details of the types of people those living there would like to meet. He will also encourage the neighbours to kickstart conversations with each other to find shared values and hobbies.
To nominate your street, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, postcode, a few words about why you think your street could do with being a bit more neighbourly.
The deadline for nominations is August 9.