Whether a neighborhood, a family, or a company, our communities play an important role in our personal and professional lives. Creating a community, maintaining it, and continuing to build it is fundamental to our existence.
But what are the necessary steps in establishing a bond between a group of individuals? What ingredients are needed?
What makes a community?
Related questions: What do we have in common? What are our responsibilities to others? Why do we feel the need to belong? What makes a place feel like home?
3 thoughts on “What Makes A Community?”
A community often forms around a location, profession, passion, cause, or faith. However, it is maintained and built, I believe, in binds that form between individuals within that community. For example, I belong to a fairly large internet community of heirloom vegetable gardeners. In the communal sense, we swap advice, share photos, and contribute reasons why we’ve come together as a community. But if things stopped there, I’d argue that we would simply be a support group or loose association. I think it’s the friendships that form and the personal investment in the success of others that attaches us to the group for the long haul. That is community.
Since I moved to Western Mass a year and a half ago I’ve joined a few communities so I’ve been able to see this in action. I’m part of 4 communities now- extended family, work, school/school parents of my kid’s class, and “Pioneer Valley” (Western Mass, centered in Northampton and Amherst).
I think a big part of what binds these communities together are shared values, concern and care for all its members, and willingness to include anyone who wants to join.
A community is built on common goals and concern for its members. A community cannot be strong if the individuals in the group look after only their own interests, or, form factions within the group that set them apart from the community. A good community is united.