Friday lunch recap 11/15/2013: Community Building and Development

rick smith

This past Friday we heard a talk on healthy communities from Rick Smith, a professor of Social Work at WSU who teaches community development. Rick mentioned:

  • Communities are often associated with a specific place (such as a Green Garage community)
  • Communities can be social circles (such as the virtual community of artists formed by Red Panda, a business-in-residence who makes guitar pedals and has a world-wide digitally-connected fanbase)
  • Communities can be formed around a particular interest (such as the pet lovers in Adrienne Wisok’s upcoming pet business)
  • Communities are often informal, and NOT a bureaucracy.

Rick told of healthy/unhealthy communities in Boston who, while having similar demographics, had differing levels of community engagement. More eyes on the street were associated with healthier communities.

We finally spent a few minutes brainstorming ideas we all associated with healthy communities. Some of our ideas:

  • Diversity
  • Density of connections
  • Physical presence
  • Mixed-use space
  • Enhance mobility
  • Strong leadership, a core group and an active fringe group
  • People in the community do what they love.

Thanks, Rick!

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