Thursday, March 8, 2007

Virtual Communities

We are no longer in Medieval Times, when there was one church in the village where everyone belonged. People drive across town to church. In the countryside, people drive to one another's town to church. The members of each church form a community, without a doubt, and yet they live in different places.

'Community' in the vernacular can refer to sets like all the families who have students at a particular school.

People organize for just about any reason at all, forming social and cultural communities that may meet once a week, or only once a year, communicating from afar. These communities can be of any size and there can be an unlimited number of them, unconstrained by time and space.

Labor Unions can be a brotherhood. Software developers work on 'Community Source' projects. Others have embraced Community Organizing as a way of life. Grassroot movements hope to form a united front on issues of common concern. Grass roots are often seen as the foundation of our democracy.

So let's not discount these virtual, social, and spiritual communities. Virtual communities can and do exist independently from the community level of the world model.

And so the term 'community' can be usefully applied to the physical world. Consider the cloud of homes and people that surround a given main street or business "district", and the businesses themselves, and business owners. If they are all lucky, they make a community. This is closer to the sense of community that we need to recognize in our new world order.

Therefore, in the World Remixed world model vocabulary, I use 'community' to refer to a collection of villages plus a certain level of amenities and services, together with the schools and so on that make up a physical community. This will be useful.

In the next remix, I'll give an example of a virtual community, although it has the name "Beacon Hill Village". Later in this introductory series of entries, we'll come back to more fully define community.