AN innovative new platform could make Bendigo residents better neighbours within the year.
Cooperative bHive received the City of Greater Bendigo's inaugural Great Ideas Grant for their project Villages, a platform designed to better connect individuals and communities within the city.
It aims to "relocalise" spending, work and ownership by creating a person-to-person economy, with a focus on gift transactions.
Through this bHive hopes to bring a share of the $2.5 billion Bendigo households spend on goods and services back into the city.
BHive executive officer Ian McBurney said the Villages platform aimed to connect neighbours to communicate collectively and individually, allowing them to organise events together and to set up sharing registers.
Mr McBurney said said the project was a response to a disassociation of neighbours that came about in the second half of the 20th century.
He said the Villages platform would connect people that currently can't find each other.
"All of our grandparents knew every neighbour and they interacted with each other and they shared things with each other, and we're doing that less and less," Mr McBurney said.
"It's partly the way our cities are designed, it's partly the way our transport system is designed, but we think the platform will enable us to find the people around us who have similar interests to us and we could share things with.
"The aim of Villages is to create an epidemic of belonging, because we all know that we're more and more disconnected, so we want to connect people together."
BHive plans to use Holochain technology that allows users to control their own personal data without an intermediary site collecting it.
The platform will run through web browsers, making it available on mobiles, computers and tablets.
Mayor Margaret O'Rourke said the project was around the disruption seen around the world, brought about by technology, but also going back to basic principles.
"It's about knowing your neighbours, knowing those that are in your community, and how you can actually share things together," Cr O'Rourke said.
"The business of life, people who want to connect still do connect, but we're a growing economy, a growing community, 115,000 people. Many of us who are born here can remember the times when the population was 42,000.
"With that comes change, with that means that people are much more movable and there are those that want to connect with their neighbourhood and those that are very busy in life, and this gives us the ability to do both."
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