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Community

How a particular area or group of people are connected

Community

Community is the place where we connect and engage with others in our local area. The US is made up of communities of different shapes and sizes. As well as providing comfort and a safety net, it can also be the place where information is shared, tolerance is encouraged, and new behaviors are learned.

While important matters can impact us at an individual and social, state, or federal level, we might also experience events and face problems with our communities. It can mean different things to different people, but there are some common attributes and advantages to being part of a community.

Types of Communities

Communities can form around particular issues, hobbies, or lifestyles. Most communities, though, are based around a location. The size of a community might vary depending on the environment.

Communities based on area can be:

  • Urban
  • Suburban
  • Industrial
  • Agricultural
  • Rural

Levels of attachment to a community are common no matter what type, although age can be a factor. Those living in a community for longer have a greater sense of attachment to the people and environment around them.

There’s no right or wrong way to participate. Knowing every neighbor might increase social connection, but it isn’t essential to feeling a sense of community and its benefits.

Components of a Community

Homeownership can contribute to the feeling of putting down roots. Renters are part of a community, too. Anyone who chooses to live for some time in an area is a participant.

There are aspects of a community that can help people engage more and measure their engagement. It’s easiest to divide them into three categories, people, places, and activities.

People

Everyone can participate, but there are ways to take on more active roles. Being a good neighbor and taking care of your home is a starting point. Here are some examples of other roles people take on:

  • Neighborhood watch
  • Community volunteer
  • PTA member
  • Campaigner 
  • Business owner
  • Event organizer
  • Peer pressure
  • Presence of drugs at home/school
  • Community attitude and influence
  • Poor academic achievements
  • Parental drug use and criminal activity
  • Trauma (abuse, witnessing violence, divorce, etc.)

Places

All the streets in the neighborhood are part of the community. However, there are some key places where the sense of connection or engagement is concentrated.

Schools

  • Places of worship
  • Community centers
  • Allotments or community gardens
  • Parks and playing fields
  • Local sports facilities
  • Town or city halls
  • Public libraries

Activities

Communities can also come together around events. They can include:

  • Charity drives
  • Picnics
  • Sports events
  • Festivals 
  • Cultural events

What Communities Provide

People want to protect and cherish their communities because they provide many benefits. They often become part of our identities, helping us connect to our lives and sense of self. They’re ideal environments for feeling you can reach out for help and also to provide the support that makes a difference to someone.

Small acts such as bringing a neighbor a freshly-baked pie or helping them change a tire count towards community support. Larger acts, such as beach cleanups, raising money for the school, and sponsoring sports teams, contribute too.

Some benefits include:

  • A sense of belonging
  • Social connections prevent loneliness
  • Engagement improves physical and mental wellbeing
  • Improves tolerance
  • Increases understanding across different groups
  • Provides a safety net against issues including violence, hunger, and homelessness
  • Effective planning and communication lead to resilience

Sources

https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2018/05/22/americans-satisfaction-with-and-attachment-to-their-communities/

https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living/10-ways-build-community

https://www.lifeintheusa.com/community/american-community.htm#Top 

https://chartwell.com/en/blog/2020/06/6-benefits-of-community-and-connection-in-challenging-times#:~:text=Community%20belonging%20boosts%20physical%20and,overall%20health%2C*%20says%20AHC

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