This will be my fifth year solo. I started out by just finding an open place. Setting up, I got help from some neighbors, gave help to some neighbors, voila, neighborhood. "Want a cup of coffee?" "Check in when you get back, we're barbecuing tonight..." These sorts of things. My third year I happened to camp near the same neighbors from the year before, 4th year we planned on it, next year the same. They are real nice folks. I've met solo neighbors who keep to themselves, and some who go out and meet all the neighbors. I don't think it matters where you are in the city, I'd think it would be the same all over. Say hello, introduce yourself, have a chat, sit in the shade with your neighbors. I haven't had to ask anyone to look out for me or my stuff. I say, "I'm heading out." when I go, or ask if anyone wants to go check something out. If people are sitting around when I get back, I stop and sit for a few stories, offer snacks, beverages, etc. It's all good.
I would suggest having your own shade arrangement even if small, a place to hang out.