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Code 3675

Lecture Seven


Unit 6 Design of Neighborhoods
6.1Traditional Concepts
6.2 Size and Identify of Neighborhoods
6.3 Social Identity and Home Zones
6.4 Open and closed Neighborhoods
6.5 The Urban Continuum
6.6 Shaping Neighborhoods
6.7 The Open Spaces Network
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability

7.1Design for Living, introduction

7.2 Complexity and Sustainability
7.3 Development of Community
7.4 Community Governance and Democratic
7.5 Capacity Building through Community
7.6 Community Leadership
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability

7.1Design for Living, introduction

Community refers to that layer of society in
which interaction takes place between
people who are neither close family and
friends, nor yet total strangers. Community is
neither private nor fully public. It shapes
our social identity and helps us make sense
of a complex and dynamic world.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.1Design for Living, introduction
The impact that the built environment has on our
experience of community, focusing particularly on the
functions of social networks and voluntary associations
within urban settings.
The diversity and intensity of connections formed
between residents in a given locality is enhanced
through opportunities for conversations and casual
inter- change. Our sense of community emerges from
this web of informal interactions and is crucial to how
we interpret and integrate experiences at local level.
By helping us to understand the issues and anticipate
how people are likely to react, community networks
enable us to mediate disputes within and between
different groups.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.1Design for Living, introduction

Community members use informal networks to

mobilize for collective action and to influence
politicians and planning officers. Whilst it might
be assumed that an emphasis on locality
overlooks the substantial changes that have
occurred in the way many people live their
lives, nevertheless the vision of eco-
neighbourhoods needs to recognize that
personal networks add a vital dimension to
community sustainability and collective
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.1Design for Living, introduction
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that
there are advantages in being well-connected into
strong social networks. Membership of social networks
promotes physical and mental health (Pilisuk and
Parks, 1986; Argyle, 1996). Individuals benefit in
terms of their happiness, their resilience to misfortune
and resistance to disease. They gain access to
resources, practical assistance, emotional support
and advice. At a collective level, community
organizations and informal networks are a way of
managing shared facilities and promoting social
solidarity, This is especially important for people
struggling at subsistence level or living in situations of
great uncertainty.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.2 Complexity and Sustainability

The notion of community is inextricably linked

to sustainability. Voluntary associations and
patterns of collective organizing evolve in
response to global and local changes.
Traditional forms of organization are adapted
and new ones developed. These processes of
experimentation and evolution ensure that the
community as a whole is able to adjust to
changes in the environment and learn from its
collective experience.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.2 Complexity and Sustainability
Complexity theory offers some useful insights
into the development of collective action
within complex societies (Eve et al, 1997).
For our purposes, the emergence of community
can be envisaged as a way of managing the
complexities and uncertainties of human
society. Voluntary associations, community
groups and social networks represent stable
(but not static) patterns of interaction through
which joint activity is coordinated so that the
whole system is able to maintain some kind of
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.2 Complexity and Sustainability
Communities that are well-connected and contain a good
diversity of ideas and experience are better able to
synthesize these to generate creative solutions to
problems which arise in their environment.
Networks allow complex systems to respond flexibly and
innovatively to changes in the prevailing conditions.
Particular cultural and organizational arrangements
survive if they have the right combination of skills, energy
and commitment to fill a particular niche in the social
environment, using resources within (or within reach of)
their networks.
Just as ecological communities require biodiversity to be
sustainable over periods of change, so too can human
communities flourish on socio-diversity.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.3 Development of Community

Community spirit is rather like a sense of humour. It is

generally seen as desirable, its absence is lamented
and yet it evades attempts to analyze its existence
or function.
The limited consensus that exists within sociological
theories suggests that community is associated
with mainly beneficial social interaction and the
coordination of collective activities. Friendship and
family networks have been identified as a source of
welfare and support (Bulmer, 1986; Willmott, 1987)
and attempts made to co-opt them into government
community care strategies (Trevillion, 1992).
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.3 Development of Community
The development of community is essentially about
supporting and extending opportunities for
informal networking. Community development is
both a professional practice and a policy strategy.
Primarily it assists people in their efforts to create
and maintain forms of collective organization, and is
often targeted at disadvantaged or ‘hard-to-reach’
sections of the population.
A community development approach does not attempt
to impose solutions using the professional ‘know-
how’ of external consultants. Rather it encourages
local people, the experts in their own living
environment, to define the nature of the problem and
to determine, so far as is possible, the solution.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.4 Community Governance and Democratic

In addition to performing vital welfare functions for their members

and users, voluntary associations and community self-help
groups constitute an important layer of civil society. They
contribute to and facilitate the democratic processes of
consultation between government institutions and citizens.
Community acts as the interface between the state and
people’s private lives. It provides a forum for public debate and

The value of community networks lie in their capacity to hold

divergent opinions, integrating and articulating a multiplicity of
perspectives without suppressing minority views.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.4 Community Governance and Democratic Renewal
Recent policies on urban management and regeneration
emphasize the importance of community involvement in
inter-agency partnerships. The different partners (local
authorities, private companies as community
representatives) do not, however, have equal power in
these arrangements and often find it difficult to work
together. This can produce conflict and frustration for all
Deprived communities have low expectations of their
ability to effect change. They may need support in
imagining, let alone implementing a vision of how their
lives might be improved. The barriers to participation can
be overcome through training, team-building and
resources, especially if these are used to build personal
links and relationships (Skelcher et al, 1996).
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.4 Community Governance and Democratic Renewal

In urban neighbourhoods, where the population tends to

be more differentiated and often materially
disadvantaged, planning for sustainable development
must reflect and champion local diversity.
Communities of interest and identity (the connections
people make through work, leisure, political and spiritual
activities) transcend geographical boundaries.
They allow ideas, experience and resources to be
shared and exchanged between people with a common
experience but who live in different areas. Activities in
which people find a common enjoyment and interest
provide vital connections for shared learning and
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.5 Capacity Building through Community
The contemporary slogan ‘think globally, act locally’ is at
the heart of Local Agenda 21 and community based
environmental action.
The assumption which tends to be implicit in many
Programmes of regeneration, that ‘community
development’ will some how apply the social cohesion
and ‘improvements’ in behaviour which cannot be
delivered directly by the state, may be seriously
questioned. While we may all approve of the
neighbourhood Scout group out planting trees of a
Saturday morning, some of us may not approve of
community action to save local green space which is
wanted by developers and which may ‘bring jobs’.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.5 Capacity Building through Community
Policy-makers and decision-makers must be
prepared to take an objective view of what
various kinds of communities of interest and
identity and of locality can deliver in terms of
local sustainability. This is the concept of
community capacity, which is gaining currency
in policy circles.
Community groups may be defined as loose
organizations which are unpaid; parochial
rather than strategic; and neither representative
nor accountable, although they are often
perceived as being so (Percy-Smith, 1998).
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.6 Community Leadership
The importance of leadership has been underplayed in
the research on area based community governance.
Numerous studies (Thake and Staubach, 1993;
Thake, 1995; Power and Tunstall, 1996), have
highlighted the importance of community
empowerment, stressing the centrality of engaging
local communities in regeneration, of offering real
stakes in the change process, and of integrating
fully into civil society those marginal to its norms
and values. The same studies, as summarized by
Taylor (1995) have pointed out the difficulties
associated with the participation of local people in
partnerships - difficulties over representation,
accountability, continuity, and commitment.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.6 Community Leadership
Little research, however, focuses explicitly on the role
and function of community leaders even if particular
estate-based research (Scottish Office, 1996;
Hastings et al, 1996) highlights the combination of
power and vulnerability located in community
leaders as they engage in multi-organisational
partnership working. Thake (1995) focuses upon
sustainable community regeneration organizations
operating within disadvantaged urban communities.
He points to two overriding objectives. The first is to
bring about social and economic regeneration
within their neighbourhoods and the second is to
develop a sustainable organization.
Unit 7 Community and Sustainability
7.6 Community Leadership

“Just as the private economic sector depends

on risk taking, visionary people to construct
new companies, products, services and wealth,
so the third sector need social entrepreneurs.
The role, once less vital, used perhaps to be
fulfilled by the village school. Today, a new
breed of determined professional is needed
who is employed by the active citizens of the
neighbourhood forum to bind together and
empower the fractured community.”