A short definition of community

A colleague recently asked me to define community in 100 words or less. Here is my attempt. What do you think?

A group of people with something in common who consider they have some connection.

Community suggests some form of commonality, whether it be geographic (e.g., neighbourhoods), interest (e.g., communities of practice), a community of identity (e.g., the gay and lesbian community) or virtual (e.g., online communities). Community also suggests boundaries (often self-defined) creating the sense that some people are part of a community and some are not. Different dimensions of community can overlap and interact, particularly in creating community boundaries (e.g., somebody in a specific geographic location might not be considered part of the community because they are too “different”).

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
This entry was posted in Working with communities and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A short definition of community

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Community also suggests boundaries (often self-defined) creating the sense that some people are part of a community and some are not.”

    I’d like to comment on the above extract of a definition of ‘comunity’ by the facilator of this discussion. I’m not clear about what he has to say about ‘community’ being suggestive of ‘boundaries.’ Does he mean that there could be ‘sub-boundaries’ within a defined ‘community’. If so I’d be obliged if he could elaborate his point ‘…boundaries (often self-defined’ creating a sense… and some are not.” In this rapidly globalised world, it is indeed very difficult to imagine a situation or context where there could be a ‘sub-community’ within an established community.



    • Thanks for the question Ernest.
      By “Community also suggests boundaries” I’m mean that the word community implies that some people are part o the community and some people aren’t. So by boundaries I mean what it is that helps to define who is part of the community and who isn’t. While I wasn’t referring to sub-community, I can imagine there being sub-communities in an established community (if you mean a smaller community within a larger community). An example might be Filipinos living in Newcastle.


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