What creates community?

April 24, 2008 at 7:10 pm 1 comment

What creates community? Shared stories.

Shared stories require three things, two of which are obvious:

  • A story, or any kind of happening, even a small happening, like a game of cards.
  • Some sharing, that is, a group of people who experience the same happening.

But a shared story also requires:

  • A first-hand, intimate knowledge that the story is being shared.

A group of individuals sitting at home watching the same show different shows on separate televisions does not create community. But the smallest thing shared with a neighbor does.

An example of a shared story is the above photo, which was taken in downtown Wheeling, W.Va., in 1950. A parade had gone up Market Street — you can see it in the background. Today, downtown Wheeling is almost vacant and you must drive ten miles to a shopping mall to do any substantial shopping.

— photo from the author’s personal collection

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Entry filed under: city culture, Downtown, Jon Swerens, Philosophy, Uncategorized. Tags: .

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1 Comment

  • 1. “WHO-O-O is it?” « the good city  |  April 26, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    […] an earlier post titled “What creates community?” I said that shared stories create community, and that sharing happens when people experience […]


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