Community Applied



Special Interest Groups

Corporate Teams

Urban Communities

Global Communities

Virtual Communities

Community Applied

The fundamental form for optimum living is the small local community. Small implies a limited number of people, making association with all members possible at some level. Local communities imply a limited space within which the community is contained. A small community dispersed over a large geographical area makes face-to-face interaction more difficult. Small and local imply a limited number of people, from a few hundred to a few thousand, with most of the social interaction being face-to-face.

The nature of the small local communities can be applied both in the ideal form (small and local) as well as the less ideal form (larger and more dispersed). The basic step to apply community is to organize for some domain of activity, issue or interest and to make change in the selected area by a process of face-to-face interactions. (Face-to-face interactions are a definite requirement.) The organization may be of many forms but the issues should be those basic ones associated with community and people living together.  

- The family is often referred to as the basic institution of society. It is where individual values and standards are set in childhood. However, it is insufficient for development of societal values and ways of being in society. Extended families offer more advantages in learning community values than nuclear families, but do not provide enough of a basis for developing all the qualities of community.

Neighborhoods - After the family, the neighborhood is the next extension into community. It is based on geographical proximity and is limited in number to a few people. Initially it has the most significance to children as they explore outside their family members and the family domicile. However, the community issues to which it can be directed are limited, since often work, education and even extended family relationships are not available within a neighborhood.

Special Interest Groups - Such groups can have many of the values and qualities of small local communities. The workplace can be one example of a special interest group. Others groups form around education (PTA), economics (Chamber of Commerce), politics (League of Women Voters), and charity drives (Community Trust). Trade unions, sport clubs and churches are also groups which can have a strong community orientation. These special interest groups do not address the community as a whole, although they can be positive and useful. As a result, they do not normally lead to a strong small local community.

Urban Communities - 100 years ago over 90% of the world lived in small local communities. This has held true since the beginning of humankind. In recent decades, particularly since the Second World War, there has been major immigration into the cities from the small communities.  Now about half the world’s populations live in urban areas. In the United States, approximately 80% of the population resides in urban areas and most of these contain over 1 million people in population count, with many approaching 10 million.

In such communities face-to-face interactions are limited, since the ordinary processes of living imply an inordinate amount of automobile commuting. As urban areas grow larger, the possibilities of small local communities further decrease and the values of the small community tend to disappear. The suburb becomes little more than an extended neighborhood. Typically the parents of suburban families do not work in their local community. Thus the referral to “bedroom communities”.

Global Communities - In the past two decades, economic policies and telecommunications advances have permitted a different approach to economics. The fundamental principle of the global community as practiced is an increasing volume of trade and a tendency toward extending the capitalistic competitive model of work to all countries in the world. The overall goal is some form of economic integration. There is no emphasis on community values and no interest in face-to-face communication. 

Corporate Communities/Teams - In recent years corporations have emphasized certain values that may or may not be associated with those of the small local community. In fact, the values of corporations are diametrically opposed to the values of the small local community. Where caring and compassion are basic to small communities, these values are replaced by competition and wealth development in the corporation. The corporate model is the war or the sports game, always having a winner or a loser. The social measurement of the corporation is the famous “bottom line”.  The loyalty of worker to company and company to worker and community have declined precipitously beginning in the 1980s, which has had a deleterious affect on the small local community.

Regional Communities - The bioregionalism movement, which developed in the 1980's, suggested organizing the population by bioregion. Considering the number of bioregions proposed, it appears that more than anything else such an approach would be a reorganization of existing state boundaries. Regionalism could be useful, particularly if organized as an extension of a set of small communities.

Virtual Communities - In the 1990s, the spread of the Internet brought forth the concept of Virtual Communities, which consist of people living anywhere in the world and communicating by e-mail, never meeting face to face. This is an extension of the concept of special interest groups except on a larger scale. Rather than a unique way of relating with people, the Internet is best viewed as an extension of the town post office, library and newspaper. It is useful for communication between special interest groups.