Community

Design_Process.html
Concepts.html

The concept of community is an extension of self-sufficiency. Individual self-sufficiency is enhanced by connection to a community. The communities' self-sufficiency is, in turn, enhanced by the activity of the individuals that are a part of it. As David Korten states it in When Corporations Rule the World (pg. 262): "Healthy societies depend on healthy, empowered communities that build caring relationships among people and help us connect to a particular piece of the living earth with which our lives are intertwined. Such societies must be built through local-level action, household by household and community by community."

Community is dependent on our ability to belong and cooperate. Robert Putnam, a Harvard University political scientist has called this bonding "social capital" and it is required for a community to survive. Social capital is the rich network of nonmarket relationships built of trust and reciprocity among people in a relationship. It is the day-to-day sharing of food, child care, health concerns, care of elderly, education, entertainment and spirit. The focus of community is on social, not money, exchange.

Sustainability of a community is related to its ecosystem as well as its people connections. Healthy communities are environmentally sustainable if their economies are able to meet three conditions: 1) the rates of use of renewable resources must not exceed the rates at which the ecosystem is able to replace them, 2) the rates of consumption or irretrievable disposal of nonrenewable resources must not exceed the rate at which renewable substitutes are developed and phased into use, and 3) the rates of pollution emission into the natural environment must not exceed the rates of the ecosystem's natural assimilative capacity. (Korten, pg. 272)

Communities form a nested set of relationships extending from the household outward through the neighborhood, town/city, county, region or state, to nation and finally the globe. With the forces of globalization so strongly a part of our political and economic system, it is essential to remember that communities are bottom-up not top-down arrangements. People are sovereign -- government and corporate rights spring from them. Communities may be informal groupings of people or formalized as 'intentional communities,' 'co-housing,' 'ecovillages' or some other structure. Each level seeks to achieve the optimal feasible ecological self-reliance, especially in meeting basic needs for food security, adequate shelter, clothing, health care and education. Strong community structure allows representational and volunteer organizations to play their role in defining the mission and influence of their governmental units and forces of the 'money capital' driven market. A strong civil society is able to meet local needs, make demands on government, serve as watchdogs, and educate the public while developing political skills.

Wendell Berry (UTNE Reader, March-April, 1995, pg. 71) offers 17 Practical Guidelines for sustaining a place-based community. He says: "Supposing that the members of a local community wanted their community to cohere, to flourish, and to last, they would:

1) Ask what any proposed change or innovation will do to the community. 2) Include local nature within the membership of the community. 3) Ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources. 4) Supply local needs first, before thinking about export. 5) Understand the ultimate unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of "labor saving" if that implies poor work, unemployment, or pollution and contamination. 6) Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products. 7) Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm or forest economy. 8) Strive to produce as much of own energy as possible. 9) Strive to increase earnings within the community and decrease expenditures outside the community. 10) Circulate money within the local economy as long as possible before paying it out. 11) Invest in the community to maintain its properties, keep it clean, care for its old people and educate its children. 12) Arrange for the old and the young to take care of one another. 13) Account for costs that are now conventionally hidden or 'externalized.' 14) Look into the possible uses of local currency, community-funded loan programs, systems of barter and the like. 15) Be aware of economic value of neighborliness -- as help, insurance and so on. 16) Be acquainted and connected with community-minded people in nearby towns and cities. 17) Cultivate urban consumers loyal to local products to build a sustainable rural economy, which will always be more cooperative than competitive.The concept of community is an extension of self-sufficiency. Individual self-sufficiency is enhanced by connection to a community. The communities' self-sufficiency is, in turn, enhanced by the activity of the individuals that are a part of it. As David Korten states it in When Corporations Rule the World (pg. 262): "Healthy societies depend on healthy, empowered communities that build caring relationships among people and help us connect to a particular piece of the living earth with which our lives are intertwined. Such societies must be built through local-level action, household by household and community by community."

Community is dependent on our ability to belong and cooperate. Robert Putnam, a Harvard University political scientist has called this bonding "social capital" and it is required for a community to survive. Social capital is the rich network of nonmarket relationships built of trust and reciprocity among people in a relationship. It is the day-to-day sharing of food, child care, health concerns, care of elderly, education, entertainment and spirit. The focus of community is on social, not money, exchange.

Sustainability of a community is related to its ecosystem as well as its people connections. Healthy communities are environmentally sustainable if their economies are able to meet three conditions: 1) the rates of use of renewable resources must not exceed the rates at which the ecosystem is able to replace them, 2) the rates of consumption or irretrievable disposal of nonrenewable resources must not exceed the rate at which renewable substitutes are developed and phased into use, and 3) the rates of pollution emission into the natural environment must not exceed the rates of the ecosystem's natural assimilative capacity. (Korten, pg. 272)

Communities form a nested set of relationships extending from the household outward through the neighborhood, town/city, county, region or state, to nation and finally the globe. With the forces of globalization so strongly a part of our political and economic system, it is essential to remember that communities are bottom-up not top-down arrangements. People are sovereign -- government and corporate rights spring from them. Communities may be informal groupings of people or formalized as 'intentional communities,' 'co-housing,' 'ecovillages' or some other structure. Each level seeks to achieve the optimal feasible ecological self-reliance, especially in meeting basic needs for food security, adequate shelter, clothing, health care and education. Strong community structure allows representational and volunteer organizations to play their role in defining the mission and influence of their governmental units and forces of the 'money capital' driven market. A strong civil society is able to meet local needs, make demands on government, serve as watchdogs, and educate the public while developing political skills.

Wendell Berry (UTNE Reader, March-April, 1995, pg. 71) offers 17 Practical Guidelines for sustaining a place-based community. He says: "Supposing that the members of a local community wanted their community to cohere, to flourish, and to last, they would:

1) Ask what any proposed change or innovation will do to the community. 2) Include local nature within the membership of the community. 3) Ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources. 4) Supply local needs first, before thinking about export. 5) Understand the ultimate unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of "labor saving" if that implies poor work, unemployment, or pollution and contamination. 6) Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products. 7) Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm or forest economy. 8) Strive to produce as much of own energy as possible. 9) Strive to increase earnings within the community and decrease expenditures outside the community. 10) Circulate money within the local economy as long as possible before paying it out. 11) Invest in the community to maintain its properties, keep it clean, care for its old people and educate its children. 12) Arrange for the old and the young to take care of one another. 13) Account for costs that are now conventionally hidden or 'externalized.' 14) Look into the possible uses of local currency, community-funded loan programs, systems of barter and the like. 15) Be aware of economic value of neighborliness -- as help, insurance and so on. 16) Be acquainted and connected with community-minded people in nearby towns and cities. 17) Cultivate urban consumers loyal to local products to build a sustainable rural economy, which will always be more cooperative than competitive.