In general, people do not have such a close relationship with their neighbours as they did in the past. Why is this so and what can be done to improve contact between neighbours?
In the past neighbourhoods were smaller and consisted of tight-knit communities. It was common for everyone to know each other, drop by for something to drink or eat or even to chat and of course to lend a helping hand if a neighbour was in need.
This personal contact and intimacy between neighbours no longer exists. In a world of high-rise apartments, people barely notice their next door neighbour and are too busy living their individual lives to care about what is happening next door. In other words, there has been a move from communal living to individual living.
What is more, people are not rooted in a single location anymore. They change neighbourhoods, cities and even countries for various reasons. This can be seen in large cities in China where there are thousands of migrant workers. Frequently changing homes does not give a person time to get to know their immediate environment.
It is very difficult to restore the type of relationship people had in the past with their neighbours as areas are overcrowded and people are suspicious and cautious in their dealings with others. Perhaps if people feel they have a common interest to improve their neighbourhood they can get together for meetings and get to know each other. Communal areas like local parks and playgrounds might encourage people to spend time together. Some neighbourhoods have even set up Neighbourhood Watch units to keep their area safe from crime. However, in order for all these changes to be effective, people living in the same area will need to make an effort.
Question taken from Cambridge Instant IELTS p. 109