Community building is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community among individuals within a regional or with a common interest. It is sometimes encompassed under the field of community development.
I spend a lot of my time doing that, helping create social gaming groups in different geographical cities. Some might even consider that I am a social development practitioner.
A wide variety of practices can be utilized for community building, ranging from simple events like house LAN parties to small game clubs a the local board game cafe, to larger–scale efforts such as a Summit/Conference and even building construction projects like a spaceship bridge, that involve local participants rather than outside contractors.
Sense of Community
"Community is something we do together. It's not just a container,"
-- David Brain, Sociologist
There are several ways that people may form a community, which subsequently influence the way a community may be strengthened:
Locus, a sense of place, referred to a geographic entity ranging from neighborhood to city size, or a particular milieu around which people gathered (such as a church or recreation center).
Sharing common interests and perspectives, referred to common interests and values that could cross-geographic boundaries.
Joint action, a sense of coherence and identity, included informal common activities such as sharing tasks and helping, but these were not necessarily intentionally designed to create community cohesion.
Social ties involved relationships that created the ongoing sense of cohesion.
Diversity referring not primarily to ethnic groupings, but to the social complexity within communities in which a multiplicity of communities co-exist.
The way that community-building takes place varies and depends on the factors listed above. There are many activities that communities use to strengthen themselves, and there's no one right way. But I've seen and been a part of many ways it doesn't sit well with me.
I go to continue to describe the leadership style as I work on commissioning new ships and officers in my blog below. The framework that has been setup to meet the operating culture of people living in Canadian cities. This came along because I needed a way to describe this work in a bit more detail in conversation terms, than through written policies and procedures, or as some have said to me "suit speak/talk".
My biggest challenge is prioritization, then time and labour as it is a finite resource.
Tell me, how are you all out there building and development your communities? Do you schedule monthly games with your local community? Or do you have a group of friends who'd you like to get together on a Friday night to play?