Community development is nothing without ‘community.’ One of the reasons it is so difficult to define community development is because of the diversity of communities and the diversity of the people within them!
Generally speaking, the term ‘community’ refers to a group of people who share a common identity or interest
. A community might share one or more of the following common identities or interests:
- Socio-economic class – level of advantage or disadvantage experienced
- Geographical location – suburb, state, council area
- Cultural values – religion, heritage, beliefs, attitudes
- Gender, age or ability
- Race or ethnicity
- Workplace, school or other place of congregation
- Or, it may be self-defined on the basis of shared political or other special interests (e.g. a sports team or humanitarian group) 1
To be considered a community, these people will typically join together to demonstrate and celebrate their commonality, express solidarity or pursue common goals.
For example, not all people who live in the same neighbourhood are actively involved with each other, they may not be considered a community. A person’s community is less about where they live and more about the relationships they have. 2