The Three Communities

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Just read this over at the Leading Questions blog (HT to

We are witnessing the beginning of an era where the institutional structures that we've depended upon for maintaining progress and continuity in our world are now declining into powerlessness or extinction.

I'm becoming convinced that what all these national and global commentators are missing is the significance of local communities. There is a great emphasis on the power of virtual communities, but that is a different thing.

From now on we are all members of three distinct communities.

  • The global community through institutions of business and government.
  • The virtual community through the tools of social media and the internet.
  • The local community through the place where we live.

I agree. I predict that local communities will begin flourishing from their current death throes. I very much like the combination of those two, local and virtual. I was just thinking the other day what a tool the internet can be in bringing together like minded people who might happen to live in the same suburb or in the next street. I was actually playing around with the idea of a community veggie swap for people who grow their own veggies, after Andrea mentioned one in Brunswick or Collingwood. Great idea, and a nice way to meet your neighbours and get to know them a bit, eating their pumpkin, instead of just seeing them as one more person to be in competition with, you know?

I feel like my heart is increasingly being turned to the people nearby (even though my grouch is too, unfortunately - see below :)

One of the things that I suppose keeps us indoors and away from each other (among many) is how transient we all are, I suspect. I rent here in my suburb. I have no intentions of leaving seeing I have no reason to leave, but if I was forced to then I would possibly consider packing up and moving my way to the Dandenong Ranges. I wonder if this is partly the reason why we don't get involved in our local communities right where we are, the thought that we don't know how long we will be here and so why bother? It's certainly been one of mine.

But for all I know I will be here for the next 10 years! I was actually thinking of having a chat to the kids in the street next time they come a-calling about an idea I've got for maybe seeing if we can organise some sort of street party. A bit of a "getting to know you" for the neighbours, you know? I don't know how it would work, or any of those yukky logistical things, but at the very least the kids would have some fun :)

(Actually, I'm not sure when I will see the kids next. One of them came over three days in a row last week until I cracked the wobblies :) Then three of them came visiting earlier this week but I was sick and really ultra crabby and one look at my grouchy face and they all left. Hmmmm. So if they ever dare to come visiting again, I might suggest it to them and see what they think.

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