Sunday, June 03, 2007

Outlining Community

Often the topics I choose are like magnets pulling related thoughts to them. Such magnetic topics can become quickly overwhelmed (and overwhelming) and collapse under the weight of others, which may turn out to be equally magnetic.

A discussion about transportation leads to one about energy, which leads to one about population density, which leads to one about the politics of planning. And so it goes.

Focus becomes both a necessity and a constraint.

So over the last day I have decided to allow myself to explore a major magnetic theme of these posts — community in the 21st Century — in outline form, just to see what it attracts.

The outline follows. It is long but each item and subtopic is brief. I hope you will feel free to comment and add sections or combine topics and subtopics. No, this isn't a Wiki, but I'll take all suggestions under consideration and edit the outline accordingly.

I have no idea what might become of the outline. It could provide the structure for a book. Certainly each topic suggests a chapter. Or the outline could simply delineate future posts or be a focus of discussion.

Whatever comes of it, I look forward to your comments.

Here goes:

A Community for the 21st Century

Introduction
Community in these times
Challenges and Opportunities

Test Case: Hillsdale

Environment
Population density
Air
Water
Plants and animals
(Energy and transportation) Parentheses indicate a link to another section
Food
Shelter
Global impacts

Size
Distinctions: Cities, towns, townships, villages, town centers, communities, neighborhoods
What we know about numbers — effectiveness, cooperation and communication

Geography
Topography — Hills and Dales
On being part of something bigger

People
Social capital (volunteerism)
Individualism and community
Involvement
The uses of time
Friends
Family

Place
The Commons
Names of places
Legacy
A center
Meeting places
Parks

Governance and Self-Governance
Devolution
Consensus “Beyond majority rule”
Taxing
Keeping it small “Thoreau”

Energy
Weaning from fossil fuels
Alternatives
Independence

Economy
Entrepreneurship
Localism
Sustainability
Cooperatives
Public financing
• Taxes
• Fees
• Foundations
Volunteerism (social capital)

Communication
"Communication defines Community"
• There is no community without communication
• The quality of the communication defines the quality of the community
Forms of community media
• Internet
–Listservs, electronic newsletters and web pages
• "Old Media”
– Newspapers
– Low-power community radio
Problems with mass (non-community, anti-community) media
Centrifugal—sucking time and energy away from community
“It’s all about you” advertising and programing
• Narcisism
Fear and hate mongering
Isolation and anxiety
Impotence
• Problem-oriented, not solution-oriented
Information, knowledge and wisdom

Aesthetics
Scale
Streetscapes
Utility Undergrounding
Pattern Language
Signage
Water features
Public art
Making places people want to be

Education and Awareness
Community Learning Centers
Intergenerational
Student-teachers/teacher-students
Year round
Life-long
Action oriented
Community centered
History

Health
Community Health Centers
Prevention
The many dimensions of public health

Culture, Entertainment, Sports
Libraries — public and private
“Bowling Together”
The arts
• Dance
• Music
• Art exhibitions
Competitive and non-competitive sports
Work as play

Transportation
Low impact
Diverse
The role of trust eg. ride sharing
Bicycles
Walking
Trails and Sidewalks

Safety and preparedness
NETs — Neighborhood Emergency Teams
Fire bureau
• Volunteerism
Community policing

Underlying values
Simplicity
Happiness
Tolerance, diversity with regular communication (see education)
Unity
Stewardship
Peace

Hillsdale: a test case

The Future: On planning and implementation

Bibliography (A “starter” list)
Akenfeld by Ronald Blythe
A Pattern Language
Deep Economy by Bill McKibben
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
The Spirit of Community by Daniel Kemmis
Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam
Habits of the Heart

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3 Comments:

Blogger Djronan said...

I think there needs to be a clearer distinction between the natural environment and the man made environment. Also, how about adding "socio-economic status" to the "people" category?

DR

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A suggestion for your bibliography:

Cities in the Wilderness - A new Vision of Land Use in America by Bruce Babbitt

DR

1:08 AM  
Blogger PDX Papa said...

Rick,
I'm always inspired by your thoroughness and insightfulness concerning the interconnectedness of community. I have a copy of your "Portlandia" column in the SWCConnection (from a year ago or so) hanging in my office. Thanks for keeping the discussion going,
Brian

2:08 PM  

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