Community: The Structure of Belonging
by Peter Block
Modern society is characterized by isolation and a weakened social fabric. The various sectors of our communities—businesses, schools, social service organizations, churches, government—work in parallel, not in concert. They exist in their own worlds as do so many individual citizens, who long for connection but end up marginalized, their gifts overlooked, their potential contributions lost. This disconnection and detachment makes it hard if not impossible to envision a common future and work towards it together.
We know what healthy communities look like—there are many success stories out there, and they've been described in detail. What Block provides in this inspiring new book is an exploration of the exact way community can emerge from fragmentation. How is community built? How does the transformation occur? What fundamental shifts are involved? He explores a way of thinking about our places that creates an opening for authentic communities to exist and details what each of us can do to make that happen.
"My intent" he writes, "is provide structural ways to create the experience of belonging, not just in those places where people come to just be together socially, but especially in places where we least expect it. This includes those places where people come together to get something done. These are our meetings, dialogues, conferences, planning processes––all those occasions where we gather to reflect on and decide the kind of future we want for ourselves."
Citizens have the power to change the community story and bring a new context into being. Block shows us how we can overcome isolation and anxiety and create communities alive with energy and possibility. This book is written to support those who care for the well being of their communities. It is for anyone who wants to be part of an organization, neighborhood, city, or country that works for all, and who have the faith and the energy to create such a place.