Bizarre facts about neighbours and neighbourhoods

A match on the plate, a match in the garden

Birds of a feather flock together: that’s true of a lot of things, but in the vegetablepatch it's more a case of "opposites attract". Polycultures will benefit the harvest much more. For example, some plants keep pests away from others, provide shade or attract bees for fertilisation. Plants which thrive together include strawberries and lettuce, potatoes and spinach, cucumbers and dill, or tomatoes and basil. An interesting fact: the same things often go well together both in the garden and on the plate.


Neighbourliness Japanese style

Chōnaikai is the Japanese form of a neighbourhood association. Many residential districts are organised on this basis in Japan. The aim is to promote mutual help and friendship in the neighbourhood. Some people may give sports or cultural courses, others offer activities to support families or elderly people. Others, again, will organise snowclearing or tree planting in the community area. A nice tradition on the one hand. On the other, the social pressure is sometimes so high that people feel obliged to join in.

Source: Wikipedia

You have to make sacrifices

Neighbours helping each other out is not the preserve of the human race. It happens in the animal kingdom as well. With alligators and waterfowl, for example. While the waterfowl use the alligators as bodyguards, which protect their nests from being raided, the alligators have a quite different purpose in mind: to them, the birds are simply a source of food. Nestlings that fall out of the nest are a gourmet treat to them.

Source: Tierwelt

Photo: Husqvarna

Hibernation for the robotic lawn mower

Mowing the lawn: to some people, it's meditation surrounded by neighbours; to others, just a dull chore. Clever robotic lawn mowers, such as the models from Husqvarna, now give garden owners a hand. Alfred Müller AG uses the machines as well, with top results. So that the lawn mower can do its work well in the summer, it needs a well-deserved break in the winter, with storage and maintenance at the supplier's premises.

Sources: Alfred Müller AG, Husqvarna

Together you have everything

Shortening your trousers yourself sounds good, but how do you do it if you've no sewing machine? Where can you get a ladder to put up your new light? And how can you assemble a cabinet if you've no cordless screwdriver? The Pumpipumpe project solves such problems with the help of neighbours. At, you can order stickers to attach to your own letterbox. They tell neighbours what everyday gadgets they can borrow from you. Simple, practical, sustainable. 


22,457 kilometres

... is the length of the Chinese land border. The People’s Republic has the longest border in the world, and the most neighbours. 16 countries border on China, including Mongolia, India and Russia.

Source: Wikipedia

"The true art of foresight lies in choosing neighbours, not buildings."

Chinese proverb

That’s what the noise is

Dealing with neighbours isn't easy: that's evidently the opinion of the majority of the Swiss population. According to a survey by, 64% are annoyed by fellow residents. The biggest bone of contention is noise – whether caused by parties, children or arguments. In addition, unfriendliness, cigarette smoke and trouble over shared laundry facilities lead to ill feeling.


City within the city

The people of Dharavi live with between 600,000 and 1 million neighbours. The district is in the Indian metropolis of Mumbai and is thought to be the largest slum in the world. What was once a fishing village is now a city within the city, with homes, shops and restaurants.

Sources: Wikipedia, SRF


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