“Defining the word ‘Community’ in Community Development.”


A dictionary definition of the word ‘community‘ is included for a discussion on the the denotations and connotations of said word community.


Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) – Cite This Source – Share This

com·mu·ni·ty

–noun, plural -ties.

1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.

2. a locality inhabited by such a group.

3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.

4. a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe.

5. Ecclesiastical. a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.

6. Ecology. an assemblage of interacting populations occupying a given area.

7. joint possession, enjoyment, liability, etc.: community of property.

8. similar character; agreement; identity: community of interests.

9. the community, the public; society: the needs of the community.

[Origin: 1325–75; < L commūnitās, equiv. to commūni(s) common + -tās -ty2; r. ME comunete < MF < L as above]

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The word ‘community’ holds so much meaning. A community is a group of people with a shared zipcode. A community can be defined as a municipality, a township, a neighborhood. It can be a place that has social programs, a network of civic organizations, family oriented activities, events meant to foster community pride.

I refer both to the place based and the common interests of residents when defining the word ‘community’ (Green & Haines 5) in regard to this case study of Maplewood Township . As a resident I have explored the specific geography of the township and also participated in social institutions and organizations that to an extent were based around the common interest of the township. By discussing geography, and leaving out social interactions, or, vice versa, I couldn’t effectively communicate to another person everything that I feel this town has to offer its residents or its visitors.

Green, Gary Paul. Haines, Anna. Asset Building & Community Development. California: Sage Publications, 2002.

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January 2009. It is fitting that I end this section with a paragraph about the teacher, Stephen Finn, who introduced me into a world of  ‘action.’  Action that is created by individuals who take established knowledge and develop steps to ‘develop communities.’ And in so doing, develop a world:

  • where tools exist to build relationships such as the art of listening to another,
  • people with a common problem form groups to fix that problem – community organizing.  And a world where
  • an individual can champion a cause by tapping into established resources – community activism.

Established examples, tried and true, that an individual who – seeing a need that could be met by action – (their action) can mobilize and bring about positive change.  He taught the course Community Development at Rutgers University, Edward J. Bloustein of Planning & Public Policy and has since moved on.  He will be missed.

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© 2011 W. S. Hughes

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. arhiderrr says:

    Nice article

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