Community building

Community building is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community among individuals within a regional area (such as a neighborhood) or with a common interest. It is sometimes encompassed under the field of community development.

A wide variety of practices can be utilized for community building, ranging from simple events like potlucks and small book clubs, to larger–scale efforts such as mass festivals and building construction projects that involve local participants rather than outside contractors.

Activists engaged in community building efforts in industrialized nations see the apparent loss of community in these societies as a key cause of social disintegration and the emergence of many harmful behaviors. They may see building community as a means to increase social justice, individual well-being and reduce negative impacts of otherwise disconnected individuals.


Leadership, geography, history, socio-economic status all are traditionally used to explain success of community and its well-being. Robert Putnam in his book Bowling Alone[1] 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 in America. Pressures of time and money, suburbanization, the effect of electronic entertainment, and perhaps most importantly the generational change appear to have all been contributing factors in the decline of social capital.

"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."...[2]

Peter Block in the book Community: The Structure of Belonging (pg. 29)[3] 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, values, spirituality, human rights and diversity.

Sense of community

"Community is something we do together. It's not just a container," said sociologist David Brain.[4] 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.

Defining Community

There are several ways that people may form a community, which subsequently influence the way a community may be strengthened:

  1. Locus, a sense of place, referred to a geographic entity ranging from neighborhood to city size, or a particular milieu around which people gathered (such as a church or recreation center).
  2. Sharing common interests and perspectives, referred to common interests and values that could cross-geographic boundaries.
  3. Joint action, a sense of coherence and identity, included informal common activities such as sharing tasks and helping neighbors, but these were not necessarily intentionally designed to create community cohesion.
  4. Social ties involved relationships that created the ongoing sense of cohesion.
  5. Diversity referring not primarily to ethnic groupings, but to the social complexity within communities in which a multiplicity of communities co-exist.[5]

For more information see Community. Regardless of the type of community that’s formed, it’s possible to perform community-building and make a difference. The way that community-building takes place varies and depends on the factors listed above. There are many activities that communities use to strengthen themselves.

Community building activities

Community Gardening

Community gardening helps to improve neighborhood, build a sense of community, and connect to the environment by planting and harvesting fresh produce and plants.

Community technology centers

Community technology center, like community gardens, have proven to be a locus of support for communities, promote neighborhood uplift, civic engagement, alleviate the digital divide, and alleviate poverty. They have also helped foster connections to the environment through the re-use of technology and proper electronic waste stewardship.

Sharing of Gifts

Music, dance, gardening, craftsmanship, mechanics, any skills or knowledge shared provide excellent opportunities for community-building.[6] Service oriented activities invite individuals to strengthen relationships and build rapport as they help one another. The sharing of gifts strengthens the community as a whole and lays a foundation for future successes in the community’s endeavors due to the overall well-being and unity produced.


Activism (different than community organizing) is taking action to produce social change. The uniting of communities with an activist perspective may produce a social movement.[7]

Community Organizing

Organizing is a major way that communities unite. When the term “organizing” is used, it usually means that a group of less powerful people is banding together to solve a problem. There are several means by which communities are organizing. The most recent is through social media.[8] Community organizing is distinguishable from activism if activists engage in social protest without a strategy for building power or for making specific social changes.[9] According to Phil Brown, community organizing is the vehicle that brings the social cohesion and broad coherence to neighborhoods and municipalities, which in turn produces successful environmental justice actions [4].

Community-building and the Environment

Community building efforts organize around toxic waste, environmental health, and environmental justice. Prior emphases on conservation, preservation, endangered species, rainforest destruction, ozone depletion, and other national global concerns often had no salience for local communities, and such emphases kept the environmental movement a largely middle class and upper middle class movement. (Brown) Groups may be as influential as the United Nations [10] or as small and local as neighborhoods. The Natural Resources Defense Council lists many publicly organized community-building groups created to decrease the ecological footprint and reduce the environmental impact that humans have.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Putnam, Robert D. (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (Simon & Schuster, New York).
  2. ^ Archived 2006-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Block, Peter (2008) Community: The Structure of Belonging (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. San Francisco).
  4. ^ a b Brain, David, "Placemaking and Community Building," Presentation at the University of Miami School of Architecture (Coral Gables, Fl: March 2004).
  5. ^ Brown, Phil. "Who is the Community?/What is the Community?" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  6. ^ "Community Building through Gifts". Abundant Community. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  7. ^ "Introduction to Activism". Permanent Culture Now. Retrieved 8/1/2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ Obar, Jonathan; Lampe, Clifford; Zube, Paul. "Advocacy 2.0: An Analysis of how Advocacy Groups in the United States Perceive and Use Social Media as Tools for Facilitating Civic Engagement and Collective Action". Retrieved 8/1/2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ Chambers, Edward T. (July 22, 2003). Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action, and Justice. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 0826414990.
  10. ^ "60 Ways the United Nations Makes a Difference". The United Nations. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  11. ^ "Reference/Links: Environmental Groups". Natural Resources Defense Council. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
Center for Community Change

Community Change, formerly The Center for Community Change (CCC), is a progressive community organizing group active in the United States. It was founded in 1968 in response to civil rights concerns of the 1960s and to honor Robert F. Kennedy. The organization's stated mission is "to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better." Community Change has received funding from the Democracy Alliance and the Tides Advocacy Fund.

Civic nationalism

Civic nationalism, also known as liberal nationalism, is a form of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in an inclusive form of nationalism that adheres with traditional liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.Civic nationalists often defend the value of national identity by saying that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives and that democratic polities need national identity in order to function properly. Civic nationalism is frequently contrasted with ethnic nationalism.

Ernest Renan is often thought to be an early civic nationalist.


Communitarianism is a philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. Its overriding philosophy is based upon the belief that a person's social identity and personality are largely molded by community relationships, with a smaller degree of development being placed on individualism. Although the community might be a family, communitarianism usually is understood, in the wider, philosophical sense, as a collection of interactions, among a community of people in a given place (geographical location), or among a community who share an interest or who share a history. Communitarianism usually opposes extreme individualism and disagrees with extreme laissez-faire policies that neglect the stability of the overall community.


A community is a small or large social unit (a group of living things) that has something in common, such as norms, religion, values, or identity. Communities often share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, town, or neighborhood) or in virtual space through communication platforms. Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community. People tend to define those social ties as important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions (such as family, home, work, government, society, or humanity at-large). Although communities are usually small relative to personal social ties (micro-level), "community" may also refer to large group affiliations (or macro-level), such as national communities, international communities, and virtual communities.The English-language word "community" derives from the Old French comuneté, which comes from the Latin communitas "community", "public spirit" (from Latin communis, "shared in common").Human communities may share intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, and risks in common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.

Consensus reality

Consensus reality is that which is generally agreed to be reality, based on a consensus view.

The appeal to consensus arises from the fact that humans do not fully understand or agree upon the nature of knowledge or ontology, often making it uncertain what is real, given the vast inconsistencies between individual subjectivities. We can, however, seek to obtain some form of consensus, with others, of what is real. We can use this consensus as a pragmatic guide, either on the assumption that it seems to approximate some kind of valid reality, or simply because it is more "practical" than perceived alternatives. Consensus reality therefore refers to the agreed-upon concepts of reality which people in the world, or a culture or group, believe are real (or treat as real), usually based upon their common experiences as they believe them to be; anyone who does not agree with these is sometimes stated to be "in effect... living in a different world."Throughout history this has also raised a social question as to the effects of a society in which all individuals do not agree upon the same reality.

Children have sometimes been described or viewed as "inexperience[d] with consensus reality," though are described as such with the expectation that their perspective will progressively form closer to the consensus reality of their society as they age.

Credit union

A credit union is a member-owned financial cooperative, controlled by its members and operated on the principle of people helping people, providing its members credit at competitive rates as well as other financial services.Worldwide, credit union systems vary significantly in terms of total assets and average institution asset size, ranging from volunteer operations with a handful of members to institutions with assets worth several billion U.S. dollars and hundreds of thousands of members. Credit unions operate alongside other mutuals and cooperatives engaging in cooperative banking, such as building societies.

"Natural-person credit unions" (also called "retail credit unions" or "consumer credit unions") serve individuals, as distinguished from "corporate credit unions", which serve other credit unions.Credit unions in the US had one-fifth the failure rate of other banks during the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and more than doubled lending to small businesses between 2008 and 2016, from $30 billion to $60 billion, while lending to small businesses overall during the same period declined by around $100 billion.. Public trust in credit unions stands at 60%, compared to 30% for big banks Furthermore, small businesses are eighty percent less likely to be dissatisfied with a credit union than with a big bank.

Global village

The term global village represents the simplifying of the whole world into one village through the use of electronic media. Global village is also a term to express the constituting relationship between economics and other social sciences throughout the world. The term was coined by Canadian media theorist, Marshall McLuhan, and popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964) McLuhan changed the way the world thought about media and technology ever since his use of the word in his book . McLuhan described how electric technology has contracted the globe into a village because of the instantaneous movement of information from every quarter to every point at the same time.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is the Scottish Government's economic and community development agency for a diverse region which covers more than half of Scotland and is home to around 450,000 people.

HIE's role is to develop sustainable economic growth across the region. To achieve this it creates infrastructure for future investment, assists large and small businesses with growth aspirations and has a unique role strengthening communities, particularly in fragile areas. As part of this HIE supports communities to acquire and develop land and other assets.

HIE supports the growth ambitions of business and social enterprise clients working through an account management model in order to accelerate growth in turnover, profitability, wage levels, exports and therefore gross value added (GVA) in the HIE area.

HIE also invests in transformational projects across the region aiming to make the Highlands and Islands a more competitive and attractive place to live, work, study and grow.

List of virtual communities with more than 100 million active users

This is a list of current virtual communities with more than 100 million active users. As of 2016, 46% of the world's human population (or 3,400 million) and 4,150 million have, at the end of December 2017, used the services of the Internet within the past year—over 100 times more people than in 1995 (see Global Internet usage).

Note: An "active user" is defined as a user who has interacted with the community in the last 30 days while logged in. This metric is different from monthly unique visitors, which includes unregistered readers who are only consumers and not creators of content. See also monthly active users.


Newgrounds (collectively, Inc.) is an American online entertainment and social media website and company. It hosts user-generated content such as gaming, filming, audio and artwork composition in four respective website categories. Newgrounds provides visitor-driven voting and ranking of user-generated submissions.The site's founder and owner, Thomas "Tom" Fulp, founded the site and company in 1995 and produces in-house content over at the headquarters and offices, based in the Glenside neighborhood of Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania.Newgrounds's slogan since 2006 is "Everything, By Everyone". This phrase is a registered trademark that is owned by Thomas Fulp, who first filed it in November 16, 2005. Newgrounds's previous slogan from 1995 to 2006 was "The Problems Of The Future, Today!"

Real life

"Real life" is a phrase used originally in literature to distinguish between the real world and fictional or idealized worlds, and in acting to distinguish between performers and the characters they portray. More recently, it has become a popular term on the Internet to describe events, people, activities, and interactions occurring offline; or otherwise not primarily through the medium of the Internet. It is also used as a metaphor to distinguish life in a vocational setting as opposed to an academic one.

Social relation

In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship between two or more individuals. Social relations derived from individual agency form the basis of social structure and the basic object for analysis by social scientists. Fundamental inquiries into the nature of social relations feature in the work of sociologists such as Max Weber in his theory of social action.

Categorizing social interactions enables observational and other social research, such as Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (lit. "community and society"), collective consciousness, etc. However different schools and theories of sociology and other social sciences dispute the methods used for such investigations.


Solidarity is unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on unities of interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies. It refers to the ties in a society that bind people together as one. The term is generally employed in sociology and the other social sciences as well as in philosophy or in Catholic social teaching. In addition, solidarity is a core concept in Christian democratic political ideology.What forms the basis of solidarity varies between societies. In simple societies it may be mainly based on kinship and shared values. In more complex societies there are various theories as to what contributes to a sense of social solidarity.Solidarity is also one of six principles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and December 20 of each year is International Human Solidarity Day recognized as an international observance.


Swarāj (Hindi: स्वराज swa- "self", raj "rule") can mean generally self-governance or "self-rule", and was used synonymously with "home-rule" by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati and later on by Mohandas Gandhi, but the word usually refers to Gandhi's concept for Indian independence from foreign domination. Swaraj lays stress on governance, not by a hierarchical government, but by self governance through individuals and community building. The focus is on political decentralisation. Since this is against the political and social systems followed by Britain, Gandhi's concept of Swaraj advocated India's discarding British political, economic, bureaucratic, legal, military, and educational institutions. S. Satyamurti, Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru were among a contrasting group of Swarajists who laid the foundation for parliamentary democracy in India.

Although Gandhi's aim of totally implementing the concepts of Swaraj in India was not achieved, the voluntary work organisations which he founded for this purpose did serve as precursors and role models for people's movements, voluntary organisations, and some of the non-governmental organisations that were subsequently launched in various parts of India. The student movement against oppressive local and central governments, led by Jayaprakash Narayan, and the Bhoodan movement, which presaged demands for land reform legislation throughout India, and which ultimately led to India's discarding of the Zamindari system of land tenure and social organisation, were also inspired by the ideas of Swaraj.

The Cinderella Movement

The Cinderella Movement was a late nineteenth century British movement to provide food and entertainment for poor children. Individuals formed "Cinderella Clubs", named after the fairy tale character Cinderella, to address specific problems associated with children's welfare.

The Exchange, Twickenham

The Exchange, Twickenham is a community building, including a 320-seat theatre, at Brewery Wharf opposite Twickenham railway station in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It opened in October 2017. The building is owned by Richmond upon Thames Council and is managed by St Mary's University, Twickenham.Its programme includes talks, drama performances, film screenings by the local Twickenham Cinema Club, and folk music events organised in partnership with TwickFolk.

Valdete Idrizi

Valdete Idrizi (born 1973) is the executive director of the CiviKos platform (in 2017). She was the executive director of the NGO Community-Building Mitrovica, which she founded, and which works for peace and builds community in the Mitrovica region in northern Kosovo. For six years prior to 2008, Community-Building Mitrovica was the only organization in Mitrovica which encouraged reconciliation and rebuilding of relationships between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. Idrizi herself is an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo in North Mitrovica who lost her home in 1999 when the Serbs invaded. In 2008 her home was still occupied by Serbs. Community-Building Mitrovica has managed to arrange the return of some Serbs to their homes in Kosovo, for which Idrizi received death threats from Kosovar Albanian militants.Idrizi received a 2008 International Women of Courage Award and the 2009 Soroptimist International Peace Award. She was chosen as CiviKos Platform Executive Director in December 2011; CiviKos is an initiative of civil society organizations in Kosovo "aimed at creating an enabling environment for [the] cooperation of [the] formal civil society sector and the Government."

Victoria Working Men's Club

The Victoria Working Men's Club was a working men's club at 275 Sandycombe Road in Kew, Richmond, London which operated from 1892 until 2015, when the building it occupied was sold to a property developer. In February 2017 Richmond upon Thames Council approved a planning application to demolish the building, and erect a new community building and six flats. is an online service for people to build and host social networking services, powered by Oxwall software. allows users over 18 years old to register a free account and create custom social networking websites. The site creation process does not involve any coding, and consists of only two steps.

The distinctive features are user roles (member access permissions), customizable themes, activity newsfeed, website/profile/content privacy, monetization pack. One of its main competitive advantages is that the service is built on an open source platform, which means a certain degree of freedom for site owners. offers three plans: Starter, Pro and Ultimate. Plans offer different feature sets, disk space and bandwidth, individual support and vendor's branding removal. Every plan offers free trial.

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