A good community is at peace with itself, confident and sure of its place, and believes that it is making a constructive contribution to broader society. As long as the community’s “social standards” and limits are upheld, it is healthy. For young people to grow up accepting of diversity and to show tolerance and respect at all times, a thriving community should include a healthy mix of residents from various religious, cultural, and ethnic origins. In a good neighborhood, there will be individuals with a sense of purpose who want the best for the community as a whole and who are willing to sacrifice for that goal.
The Characteristics of a Thriving Community
Perhaps, the best-known work is that of David McMillan and David Chavis (1986), who discovered in their review of prior research that four characteristics of a thriving community constantly appear.
- Everyone has a sense of belonging to the community.
- They have the right to voice their concerns and the assurance that their opinions are valued and accepted.
- A community’s many responsibilities for individual and social satisfaction include necessities, leisure, and social contact; they are the foundations of integration. According to some researchers, fulfilling these responsibilities is referred to as being a “complete person” in our jobs.
- Empathy is based on a shared history, sense of belonging, and the quality of relationships within that group.
How Communities Develop
As a consequence of being co-located, communities tend to develop when one or more people desire to connect with others who share their views and values; yet, such a group can not exist at present. Whether these groupings develop consciously or accidentally, discovering people with similar traits can be very comfortable and gratifying. The ability to reflect on one’s fundamental principles and beliefs can be facilitated by being active in a supportive and uplifting community.
Here are the five most important reasons why communities develop (and why others can be motivated to join said communities).
1. A Strong Sense of Identity
People who have a strong sense of identity tend to create tight-knit groups. Those in an alumni group, for example, have a history of going to the same college or university. Similar to this, ethnic groups have elements of their culture and history in common that they share with others.
2. A Shared Objective
A community frequently forms around people who have strong feelings about a particular social issue. These goals can be significant, like working together to eliminate a disease, or modest, like a community trying to elect a specific political party member.
3. Identical Sets of Goals
The pursuit of mutually beneficial results or the achievement of specific objectives can unify certain societies. Consider the many buy-and-sell groups on Facebook, where people from all over the globe participate.
Every day Facebook users create these groups to facilitate the buying, selling, and bidding of specialized goods. As a result, members of these organizations have similar goals, such as obtaining new things or profiting from old ones.
4. Common Interests and Hobbies
Iceland’s adolescent sports clubs are an excellent illustration of how communities develop around shared interests or hobbies. Arts, sports, culinary, culture, and gaming integrated into a flexible preschool or high school curriculum are some examples of pursuits that can contribute to the development of a community.
5. A Robust Support System
Individuals can be held responsible for specific actions and objectives by their communities. When someone makes a public commitment to achieving a goal, they have a lower chance of success. There will be no one to keep them responsible if they start straying from their plan. Conversely, when someone in a community expresses their objectives to others, societal pressure is on them to succeed. As a result, their chances of succeeding go up. Furthermore, when a person has difficulties attaining a goal, people in their group who have similar destinations can provide assistance and empathy. Such communities exist, for example, in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous and weight-loss programs.
As the saying goes, everyone in a community should be ready to assume the helm of the ship. People can be motivated to “take the helm” while in a well-functioning, good community because of how committed and dedicated their fellow members are. Positive communities, at their heart, create this kind of dedication because they are built on a compelling and inspirational goal that their members can relate to. People who live in good communities are motivated to engage and contribute to ending global hunger or putting on the most incredible Christmas light show in the neighborhood.