In order to get some background information and identify the problem and the target audience, I used three methods:
First, I found demographics of the city of San Francisco provided by the California Department of Finance.
According to this, the estimated population of San Francisco city, as of January 1, 2010, is 856,095 with over 17,000 people per square mile.
Moreover, the total housing units based on 2000 US Census data is 346,527.
Then, I conducted an online survey (using to compose a brief 5-question survey, which was mailed to friends and acquaintances living in the city of San Francisco.
Finally, I talked to potential stakeholders by visiting complex apartment buildings and stores in the city of San Francisco.
I collected the thoughts and opinions of 20 users in all. A summary and a sample of my questionnaire follows:

1. How many people/neighbors do you know in a radius of 1 mile?

2. What is the most important reason why you want to know your neighbors (if you want to)?

3. What kind of activities do you have in a radius of 1 mile from your apartment?

4. If you could create an ideal web site for your neighborhood, what features would this website have?

5. How many hours per day do you spend on the Web?