I have been writing a lot of late on the importance of relearning to build and live in community, if we are going to cope well with the coming economic, energy and ecological crises. Problem is, most of us now live in anonymous, opportunistic, disconnected neighbourhoods, relating primarily to those outside rather than inside our communities, depending on outside centralized systems for just about everything, and not knowing or particularly caring about the people who live around us, the natural ecosystem of the place where we live, or how much of anything essential really works. We’ve forgotten what real community means, what it is.
This got me thinking: What are the essential elements of community, anyway? If we succeeded in creating or reshaping our neighbourhoods into authentic communities, what would they “contain”? What would they look like? How would they work? I started scribbling and the sketch above is the first draft I came up with. Imagine it scrawled on the back of a napkin (if my handwriting was legible I would have used a hand drawn sketch instead).
I have no idea what to do with this, and I’m sure it’s a very flawed and incomplete model. But it seems to me it’s something we need to have a model of, if we hope to create (or at least help evolve) communities that work.