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Community: The Structure of Belonging

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Overview

This book is written to support those who care for the well-being of their community. It is for anyone who wants to be part of creating an organization, neighborhood, city, or country that works for all, and who has the faith and the energy to create such a place. I am one of those people. Whenever I am in a neighborhood or small town and see empty storefronts, watch people floating aimlessly on the sidewalks during school or working hours, pass by housing projects, or read about crime, poverty, or a poor environment in the places where our children and our brothers and sisters live, I am distressed and anguished. It has become impossible for me to ignore the fact that the world we are creating does not come close to fulfilling its promise. Along with this distress comes the knowledge that each of us, myself included, is participating in creating this world. If it is true that we are creating this world, then each of us has the power to heal its woundedness. This is not about guilt, it is about accountability. Citizens, in their capacity to come together and choose to be accountable, are our best shot at making a difference. This book is for all who are willing to take a leadership role that affirms the conviction that without a willingness to be accountable for our part in creating a strong and connected community, our desire to reduce suffering and increase happiness in the world becomes infinitely more difficult to fulfill. It is also based on the belief that in some way the vitality and connectedness of our communities will determine the strength of our democracy. ----From 'Community'......Peter Block is an author, consultant, and citizen of Cincinnati, Ohio. His work is aboutempowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community.....Peter serves on the boards of directors of Cincinnati Public Radio; Elementz: Hip Hop Youth Arts Center; and InkTank, which offers writing programs for marginalized people. He is also a partner in the Urban Opportunities Alliance, a group of youth- and family-oriented efforts in Cincinnati. He is a member of the advisory board for the Festival in the Workplace Institute, Bahamas. With other volunteers, Peter began A Small Group, whose work is to bring the disengaged into community through the tools of civic engagement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605092775
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 145,744
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Block is the author of several bestselling books, including Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used and The Answer to How is Yes. He has received many awards for outstanding contributions in the field of training and development.

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Table of Contents

Introduction The Fragmented Community and Its Transformation 1

Pt. 1 The Fabric of Community

Ch. 1 Insights into Transformation 11

Ch. 2 Shifting the Context for Community 29

Ch. 3 The Stuck Community 37

Ch. 4 The Restorative Community 47

Ch. 5 Taking Back Our Projections 55

Ch. 6 What It Means to Be a Citizen 63

Ch. 7 The Transforming Community 73

Pt. 2 The Alchemy of Belonging

Ch. 8 Leadership Is Convening 85

Ch. 9 The Small Group Is the Unit of Transformation 93

Ch. 10 Questions Are More Transforming Than Answers 101

Midterm Review 111

Ch. 11 Invitation 113

Ch. 12 The Possibility, Ownership, Dissent, Commitment, and Gifts Conversations 123

Ch. 13 Bringing Hospitality into the World 145

Ch. 14 Designing Physical Space That Supports Community 151

Ch. 15 The End of Unnecessary Suffering 163

More Book at a Glance 177

Role Models and Resources 187

Acknowledgments 223

Index 227

About the Author 237

About the Design 239

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Community - Review from LocalPlan.org

    "The future is created one room at a time, one gathering at a time."

    In an effort to expand my own knowledge and to become better connected to the concepts that power the field of planning, I read a respectable amount of planning related literature. Most of the literature takes a concept, explains it, provides some examples of how that concept is being used in other places, and then provides a stepping off point for others interested in integrating that concept into the planning efforts within their own jurisdiction. Community is not that book.

    The author, Peter Block, attempts to create a more transformative dialog related to the concept of community engagement. Rather than tossing out some tried and true ideas that the reader might be looking for more information on, Block presents a more revolutionary narrative. With an extremely calm, collected demeanor Block explains the current situation as it relates to community and then shows how community can become more open, more engaging, and more inclusive. Block's model moves away from the more standard approaches that inevitably fuel the dichotomies often present in our communities today toward a model structured around understanding and belonging. Block also moves away from illustrating a cookie-cutter technique and instead illustrates the broad concepts that we can employee to create this dialog. The reader is granted an opportunity to fill in the appropriate gaps in order to make Block's ideas fit their needs.

    Block's ideas of communities lend power to the individuals that occupy them. Citizens have control of their own future and aren't represented by "leaders" in a traditional sense. "In communal transformation, leadership is about intention, convening, valuing relatedness, and presenting choices." Block advocates for leaders that create opportunities to bring people together. Those individuals are "conveners" of meetings and aren't there to direct the conversations taking place, but instead they are there to ensure that the conditions are optimized for the conversations that need to take place.

    I was intrigued by the concepts of questions and answers that Block presents. Instead of centering meetings around providing answers to questions, meetings can focus on presenting the right questions. Block theorizes that questions provide more openness and potential than answers which often doom us to repeat the past. Block also examines advice under a similar light pointing out that advice only limits our potential to the techniques that have been explored by those giving the advice.

    Block presents his case in a format that allows the reader to incorporate his model into their community meetings. He gives vivid examples of areas where similar ideas have been employed and he shows how his ideas can be merged into our system of community engagement. Community: the Structure of Belonging is a great companion to the Organizer's Handbook. Block reaches a much greater level of detail and provides a graphic explanation as to why each concept is important (down to seemingly minute details such as room arrangement). Block's writing style is approachable, interesting, and extremely motivational. Block provides the information possible to enable us to "shift our conversations from the problems of community to the possibility of community".

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding writing on the vital need to sustain our communities

    EVERYONE should read this book. It provides an overwhelming rationalization of the importance of the vitality and structure of our communities.

    For an understanding of how this vision can be put in place - I suggest you google the Westchester, New York Department of Senior Programs and Services and read about their Livable Communities Initiative and their Livable Communities Caregiver Coaching program. Thoughts and words put in to action to make a difference around us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    Abstract, "New Age-y" and Disappointing

    I am in a small church community that is in transition. to that end, a group of us have decided to read books about building community and discuss them on a weekly basis. If you are looking for a book in the hope of finding ideas for practical activities to build a community, I do not believe this book does it. Block takes easy pot shots at traditional social structures, but does not demonstrate that he has the knowledge or practical skill to build something lasting to replace them. Broad sweeping unsupported generalizations do not constitute insight.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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