As I think about the components of an effective community I thought it would be valuable to list what I think are the essential parts of an effective community. I will try to define them just enough here to make it clear what I am thinking. If anyone finds anything I have missed, or a definition that they think should change, please let me know.
Perhaps I should start be defining what I mean by “community.” I am specifically thinking about a city or town, in other words a physical community of people who live within some defined proximity. Despite that, I believe that the elements of a community that I am considering are applicable to other kinds of community such as a business, or a virtual community.
Government – a body responsible for defining the community and the rules that govern the community. The government of a community would be responsible for arbitration if community members have a dispute about what is acceptable within the community.
Communication – a way for community members to share information about the community, to voice their opinions, or to record events of significance.
Commerce – something to facilitate transactions between members of the community in an organized way so that those transactions are recognized by other members of the community when necessary.
Entertainment – a means of promoting informal interaction between community members which is not focused on commercial repercussions (although there may be commercial elements to the interactions).
Ritual – a celebration of community identity. The purpose of ritual is to solidify the community identity and help members remember the purpose and/or history of the community.