The use of ‘community’ and ‘non-community’ in his article could be read as value-based – or even value-biased. His summary was that a high-rise luxury apartment complex couldn’t possibly be a community!
There is no such thing as a ‘non-community’ where people are involved.
A community can be defined as people living, working or studying in one locality or context.
Workplaces, work-sites, high-rise apartment buildings, schools, universities, hospitals, houses of parliament, side streets, neighbourhoods, villages, towns, cities …. the descriptions could go on and on.
No community is without a community memory, tradition, culture, personality… often called ‘a rich tapestry’. A small or large number of people may come together for the first time to occupy a new building, settlement or workplace – or establish a new organisation or commercial enterprise. Together, they will contribute to and form a social context in which the norms will eventually surface and settle. Each person will bring their personal experiences and impressions to contribute to the process of establishing a sense of community in that building, settlement, workplace, organisation or business.
In any community, however large or small, each person brings with them:
- immediate relationships (immediate and extended family, those they live and love with – now and through their lives; those with whom they share and have shared important aspects of their lives)
- present and past experiences (workplace, personal, social, economic, spiritual, educational, physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural experiences)
- formal and informal learning (qualifications, courses, workshops, self-paced learning, reading, studies they have earned or attended)
- community networks and linkages (groups and organisations with whom they are already involved and through which their lives are enriched)
My childhood experiences include living in many different communities, including:
- a country town through World War 2 with an Air Navigator Training Base at the town’s aerodrome,
- a suburban shopping strip where my family lived in cramped and uncomfortable conditions behind and above a relative’s boot and shoe repair shop,
- an emergency housing camp in an inner suburban park: this camp had housed an Army Signalling Corps through the War, and then
- a new Housing Commission estate – initially without made roads, footpaths, trees or gardens – in what was then an outer Melbourne suburb and had earlier been referred to as the local forest.
And all before I had completed secondary school! Moving into adulthood led me into many different experiences with establishing, joining, contributing to and eventually leaving many communities.
However, I’m pleased to say that I’ve never experienced or even observed a non-community.
Our communities are what we individually make them.