I live in a very nice neighbourhood. There are lots of kids close by for my 2 girls to play with, there is a park across the street, and most of the people are friendly. I really enjoy being in this area of town.
My next-door neighbours (we live in a semi-detached, so my attached neighbours) have sold their house. I'm a little apprehensive. I quite enjoy the neighbours we have now and I can only hope the next ones are as nice. The girls are excited to see who moves in as the two boys next door are a little older (8 and 10 ish) and they are loud in their home so we hear them sometimes stomping up the stairs and such. I tried to warn the girls that the next people may not be any quieter.
The bus for the girl's school stops on the street behind us so we have to walk halfway around the block to catch it. One other girl from my daughter's grade 1 class gets on with her, as well as 2 brothers. The parents are so nice and try hard to be friendly and chatty at the stop while we're waiting. Sadly the 2 brothers are also moving out of the neighbourhood after this school year, but in the fall my youngest will be starting school also and maybe there will be other, younger, children close by starting as well.
I find it funny that each street has it's own complement of kids who play together. Sometimes Emma (my eldest) goes around the corner to play with the little girl in her class who gets on the bus with her. Around there she would play with about 5 kids of various ages and who go to different schools, but when at home playing there is one "best friend" girl who lives across the street and then 2 regular other kids who play with them, sometimes adding a couple older kids who live further down the street. Mostly the kids on our street do not mingle, or maybe even know, the kids on the other street. Also the boys next door have a group of kids they play with who don't really intersect with the kids my girls play with. Childhood friendships can be quite intricate things!
I wonder if part of the separation has to do with the "helicopter parent" generation versus the "free range" idea of parenting. I have no problem with Emma (who is 6 1/2) walking around the corner to play with the other kids or crossing the street to go to the park unsupervised, but that was how I was brought up - go play until the streetlights come on mentality. I know parenting has changed, but my personal belief is that they world is no worse now (crime etc) that when we were kids, it's just that hear about every single thing now that media forces everything into your face over many many technology platforms.
My hope is that my kids have a fun and memorable childhood like I did, and that I can let them be independent and safe at the same time.