What is a "Community"?

As communities based on proximate and personal relationships decline, the application of term "community" multiplies. Anand Giridharadas looks at the hijacking of the word and what its new applications say about our contemporary culture.
September 21, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As one of the most-used terms in the planner's lexicon, and one that has its historic home in place-based definitions, the changing applications of the term "community" are significant for our profession and our communication.

"'Community' has become one of those words that should always have quotation marks around it," says Giridharadas. "Words get hijacked all the time, but this is one of those really violent, eight-country, stop-for-refueling hijackings."

"Place and shared experiences have fallen away from the modern understanding of 'community,'" he continues. "When people speak of the 'medical community' or the 'venture capital community,' they’re really describing people with common interests and not common values, history or memory. Community in this sense is less about having one another’s back, more about lobbying for the same things."

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Published on Friday, September 20, 2013 in The New York Times
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