Neighbourhood relations differ from other kinds of relations in that they are primarily defined by space. Closeness rather than distance define neighbours and neighbourhoods. What is more, the spatial relation is more or less an enforced one – in most cases neighbours are not chosen but already there when people move and newly arrive.
The spatial character and the enforced closeness of shared space make the neighbourhood boundaries special. Conflicts in neighbourhoods are often dramatic; the solidarity of neighbours has been and still is a bare necessity. This gives the notion of neighbourliness its normative touch. We almost instinctively think of the proverbial “good neighbourly relations”, to be unneighbourly means to be unfriendly.