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Why Cities Need Communities

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Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/10/2013 10:13:39 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Communities are very very important in todays World.
Wonderful input, Venks. I know that India's telecommunications infrastructure was cited for all kinds of corruption not long ago. It's great to see action from young people who aren't afraid to disrupt the status quo and reach for higher ground.

Venks
Venks  
1/10/2013 2:48:06 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Communities are very very important in todays World.
Well, thats why the 'Youths' are needed to be guided more carefully by the older generation. They form a very energetic bunch in driving socio-economic, political etc affairs of the region. 

Let me quote a beautiful example here. We all know that corruption is a major hindrance to the development of any society. We also see many people talking against corruption but in bits and pieces. But what happened in India recently (in 2012) was, the 'Youth' formed communities on social networking sites like Facebook and raised voice against the corruption, against the governmetnt for not taking any stern action against the corrupt etc. And this led to amend the rules of the Corruption Act of India which were almost more than 50 years old. Wow!, thats what a community might do for you.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/9/2013 10:13:17 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Communities are very very important in todays World.
Good point, Venks. Young people tend to be less fearful of the status quo and to be more connected to the outside world. Getting together as a community adds strength and encourages "getting the word out" about internal situations that need addressing.

Venks
Venks  
1/9/2013 2:01:05 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Communities are very very important in todays World.
Wow! What an excellent post Rick. Terrific content.

Actually thats one of the reasons of the successful development of the upcoming new generations cities of the World. You have a look at any of the New generation cities like Rio, Beijing, Bangalore etc. What do we commnly see here is the 'Youth' of these cities are forming smaller yet stronger communities, taking the local social, political, financial issues and bringing it to the notice of the outer world. This way the issues get solved ultimately leading to better future for the citizens all around.

And look what are we doing here @ ubmfuturecities.com . Aren't we networking? Aren't we communicating here within a community? All this will slowly but definately lead to a better future for ourselves.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/8/2012 10:07:41 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Common or rare?
Great personal blog post, Rick, and you speak eloquently to the need for "soft infrastructure" and overcoming the very human urge to avoid "strange" groups and resist connecting with them.

I wonder if this resistance is more a feature of Western than Eastern world culture. In many parts of the world, ideas of living individually and separately are resisted. That may not indicate a willingness to reach across differences.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/8/2012 9:54:26 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Communities are vital
Communication is surely key. Outreach requires willingess on the part of city officials and community members. Acknowledging problems, approaching a group formerly thought of as adversarial -- these are challenges, but they must be faced for progress to occur. Perhaps this is where religious groups and charities come into the picture?

Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson  
11/8/2012 6:20:29 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Common or rare?
Hi MD, Mary,

I've seen other examples of geographic communities; my home city of Birmingham is a city that initially grew together from several towns during the industrial revolution; it's "Big City Plan" spatial strategy now emphasies the critical mass and distinct character of such "urban villages" as Moseley and the Jewellery Quarter.

But I don't think that geographic communities are the only ones we need to understand and to engage in the process; there are economic communities, faith groups and many other much more loosely defined affiliations or simply common interests. I think we need a very flexible understanding of this idea and how to approach it - I posted some further thoughts on the subject yesterday on my personal blog, and am likely to return to the topic again on UBM Future Cities!: http://theurbantechnologist.com/2012/11/07/zen-and-the-art-of-messy-urbanism/

Cheers,

Rick

Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson  
11/8/2012 6:15:26 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Communities are vital
Hi Mary,

Thankyou for your comments and question - and what a good question that is!

I can't imagine communities that it is more important to engage with than these. They represent some of the people who are most in need of support, or who face the most difficulty in accessing opportunities of all sorts. If we are really going to make our cities "Smarter" and more successful, then we must allow all of the individuals and communities in cities to participate in that process.

The challenge can be how to create a creative engagement between those communities and those in a position to influence city policies and investments. That's not easy of course, and there are many people more expert in that field than I am. But for what it's worth, in my experience what's needed is a multi-party dialogue often involving community associations, volunteer organisations and other groups and individuals who are engaged with those communities - and who are expert in understanding them.

Cheers,

Rick

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/5/2012 12:55:43 PM
User Rank Staff
Emerging communities
Great post, Rick, and very relevant in an age when we're seeing more communities emerge.  

I think the "Occupy" movement is a good example here of a group that has now turned into a community of people with common goals. For example, last year the Occupy group was looked upon as just a protest movement, and very much a foe to the government, but just this past weekend I saw that the Occupy community had come together to collect and deliver donated goods to people in NYC and outerboroughs who were in need after the storm. It got me thinking about ways that communities can emerge to fill in where the government is lacking and teach the government how to run better as well.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/5/2012 12:03:22 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Common or rare?
Agreed, MD. But I think some of the community definition is geographical. Seattle and NYC are two US cities that emphasize their geographical communities and districts quite avidly, publishing news of different locales like SoHo or Queen Anne, and making a point of basing tourism and real estate pitches on district culture.

I'm not sure that communities in other senses are endorsed quite so heavily.

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