Mary Lou Mayo


The locus of community has been identified with the small town. With urbanization and industrialization, a shift occurred to spatially unbounded networks which are relationally defined and can be found in multiple contexts. The importance of community has long been recognized for both the individual and the society. Intentional communities represent attempts to create it. Examples include communes in the past, cohousing, gated communities, ecovillages and neighbornets. New Urbanist design attempts to create community through architecture and land use patterns, increasing the potential for people to come into contact with one another. The success of these efforts remains ambiguous. The Internet offers digital communities especially on social media sites. They represent a type of hybrid community today, a new structure. In the future, two demographic trends favor compact living arrangements and the potential for locality based community: the preferences of millennials who seem to want to abandon sprawling suburbs, and aging boomers who could benefit from the assistance of a supportive community. Environmental concerns and the need for action will also be locality based. Both the Internet and compact locality based communities offer the promise of social attachments, resurgent community. The limitation is in the homogeneity of the attachments. Bridging capital and coalitions of people who are different will be essential. Community, however, exists in a national and global context; acts of terrorism, the economy and national leadership make the future uncertain.

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