Community building
Community building is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

 among individual
An individual is a person or any specific object or thing in a collection. Individuality is the state or quality of being an individual; a person separate from other persons and possessing his or her own needs, goals, and desires. Being self expressive...

s within a regional area (such as a neighborhood) or with a common interest. It is sometimes encompassed under the field of community development
Community development
Community development is a broad term applied to the practices and academic disciplines of civic leaders, activists, involved citizens and professionals to improve various aspects of local communities....


A wide variety of practices can be utilized for community building, ranging from simple events like potluck
A potluck is a gathering of people where each person or group of people contributes a dish of food prepared by the person or the group of people, to be shared among the group...

s and small book clubs, to larger–scale efforts such as mass festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s and building construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

 projects that involve local participants rather than outside contractors.

Activists engaged in community building efforts in industrialized nations
Developed country
A developed country is a country that has a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criteria, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue...

 see the apparent loss of community in these societies as a key cause of social disintegration
Social disintegration
Social disintegration is the tendency for society to decline or disintegrate over time, perhaps due to the lapse or breakdown of traditional social support systems. In this context, "society" refers to the social order which maintains a society, rather than the political order that defines its...

 and the emergence of many harmful behaviors. They may see building community as a means to increase social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

, individual well-being
Quality of life
The term quality of life is used to evaluate the general well-being of individuals and societies. The term is used in a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, and politics. Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of...

 and reduce negative impacts of otherwise disconnected individuals.

Scott Peck model

"Community building" could refer to a group process developed by Dr. M. Scott Peck
M. Scott Peck
Morgan Scott Peck was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author, best known for his first book, The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978.-Biography:...

. This practice brings together individuals to go through the four basic psychological stages that typify the formation of a cohesive group that has established trust and a deep sense of connection. As described in his book "The Different Drum", these four stages are known as "pseudo-community", "Chaos", "Emptiness" and "Community". Individuals within the group may be at different stages at different times, and may move back and forth through the stages.

According to Peck, moving into "organization", forming rules for the group, disrupts the process and prevents community.

Pseudo community is where people are guarded but polite, talking of less important things and giving little away about themselves. Chaos is conflict. In Emptiness, participants "empty" themselves of their requirements and desires for the process and the other participants, enabling them to reach Community, in which they appreciate the process and other participants, and themselves, for who they are.

The group "Community Building in Britain" organizes group sessions using this process.


Leadership, geography, history, socio-economic status all are traditionally used to explain success of community and its well-being. Robert Putnam
Robert Putnam
Robert David Putnam is a political scientist and professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also visiting professor and director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester...

 in his book Bowling Alone
Bowling Alone
Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community is a book by Robert D. Putnam. It was originally a 1995 essay entitled Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital.-Summary:...

 finds that a community's well-being is dependent on the quality of relationships among the citizens of that community. He refers to this as social capital. Social capital creates a sense of belonging thus enhancing the overall health of a community. Putnam goes on to identify and examine the decline of social capital
Social capital
Social capital is a sociological concept, which refers to connections within and between social networks. The concept of social capital highlights the value of social relations and the role of cooperation and confidence to get collective or economic results. The term social capital is frequently...

 in America. Pressures of time and money, suburbanization
Suburbanization a term used to describe the growth of areas on the fringes of major cities. It is one of the many causes of the increase in urban sprawl. Many residents of metropolitan regions work within the central urban area, choosing instead to live in satellite communities called suburbs...

, the effect of electronic entertainment, and perhaps most importantly the generational change
Generational change
Generational change is radical change that occurs in an organisation or a population as a result of its members being replaced over time by other individuals with different values or other characteristics....

 appear to have all been contributing factors in the decline of social capital. Public libraries are anchor institutions that promise visions of community and establish a sense of place. In times if disaster and economic struggle public libraries are the heart of their communities.

"We must learn to
view the world through a
social capital lens," said Lew Feldstein of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and co-chair of the Saguaro Seminar. "We need to look at front porches as crime fighting tools, treat picnics as public health efforts and see choral groups as occasions of democracy. We will become a better place when assessing social capital impact becomes a standard part of decision-making."...

Peter Block in the book Community: The Structure of Belonging (pg. 29) states "The context that restores community is one of possibility, generosity, and gifts, rather than one of problem solving, fear, and retribution." This context allows a new conversation to take place. It requires its citizens to act authentic by choosing to own and exercise their power rather than delegating to others what is in the best interest of that community. Focus must be inclusive for all, not just the leaders but each and every citizen of that community.

While building a community, beliefs are at the base of that community. A few of those beliefs are regarding ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, values, spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

, human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 and diversity
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

. While building upon those beliefs, learning is necessary. This learning takes place through team learning. Mental models must be acknowledged, providing an arena for creative tension. Knowledge is gained through the collective. Verbal, non-verbal communication can be expressed through cultural, ritual, ceremony and sharing of a community’s history. Communication involves analytical intelligence. Emotional intelligence made up of self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation also are integral. Using social intelligence to understand others, provide leadership and engage in co-operation is also needed. With a sense of belonging developing, conversation, possibilities, commitment, connection and loyalty are sown. With caring, sustainability provides a breeding ground for sacrifice and unselfishness.

"Community is something we do together. It's not just a container," said sociologist David Brain.David Brain, "Placemaking and Community Building," Presentation at the University of Miami School of Architecture (Coral Gables, Fl: March 2004). Infrastructure, roads, water, sewer, electricity and housing provides the shell within which people live. It is within this shell that people do the things together that allow them to sustain livelihoods. these include but are not limited to education, health care, business, recreation, and spiritual celebration. People working together with shared understandings and expectations are what provide a place of strong community.

See also

  • Community economic development
    Community economic development
    Community Economic Development is a field of study that actively elicits community involvement when working with government, and private sectors to build strong communities, industries, and markets...

  • Community practice
    Community practice
    Community Practice is a branch of social work in the United States that focuses on larger social systems and social change, and is tied to the historical roots of United States social work...

  • Community of practice
    Community of practice
    A community of practice is, according to cognitive anthropologists Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession. The group can evolve naturally because of the members' common interest in a particular domain or area, or it can be created...

  • Community engagement
    Community engagement
    Community engagement refers to the process by which community benefit organizations and individuals build ongoing, permanent relationships for the purpose of applying a collective vision for the benefit of a community...

  • Community Mobilization
    Community Mobilization
    Community mobilization is an attempt to bring both human and non-human resources together to undertake developmental activities in order to achieve sustainable development.-Process:...

  • Community gardening
    Community gardening
    A community garden is a single piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people.-Purpose:Community gardens provide fresh produce and plants as well as satisfying labor, neighborhood improvement, sense of community and connection to the environment...

  • New Urbanism
    New urbanism
    New Urbanism is an urban design movement, which promotes walkable neighborhoods that contain a range of housing and job types. It arose in the United States in the early 1980s, and has gradually continued to reform many aspects of real estate development, urban planning, and municipal land-use...

  • Sense of community
    Sense of community
    Sense of community is a concept in community psychology and social psychology, as well as in several other research disciplines, such as urban sociology, which focuses on the experience of community rather than its structure, formation, setting, or other features...

  • Urban sociology
    Urban sociology
    Urban sociology is the sociological study of social life and human interaction in metropolitan areas. It is a normative discipline of sociology seeking to study the structures, processes, changes and problems of an urban area and by doing so providing inputs for planning and policy making. Like...

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