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.

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."

Full Story: Draining the Life From 'Community'


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95