ERIC Number: ED444777
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jun-30
Reference Count: N/A
Strengthening Community Networks: The Basis for Sustainable Community Renewal. Program Report.
Lane, Brett; Dorfman, Diane
This report describes principles of community organization that can contribute to sustainable community renewal. Community is composed of social networks which form the community infrastructure. Relationships among people with the same roles are passive; relationships that cross role boundaries are active. Communities that exhibit active relationships have the greatest potential for sustainable community action and renewal. Active relationships develop when an atmosphere conducive to democratic participation is available to all interested community members. Social capital is a measurement of the levels of social trust and active relationships present in the community. Social infrastructure can be likened to social capital, and components of social infrastructure that apply to the rural context are outlined that revolve around trust and acceptance of diversity. Two tools that contribute to the creation and application of social capital, particularly in the rural context, are dialogue and school-community interaction. The process of bringing people together builds social capital, but to succeed, the process must be collaborative, not hierarchical. Dialogue is the first step toward collaboration. Three centers that promote dialogue are discussed, and case studies of dialogue in practice are given. School-community interactions are important because schools, especially in rural areas, are often the strongest community institution and youth are a vital resource that must be engaged into the community. Finally, five dimensions of successful collaborative development are discussed. Appendices present dialogue centers, theoretical models of community development, and collaborative community development models. (Contains 22 references.) (TD)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, Community Cooperation, Community Development, Models, Participative Decision Making, Rural Development, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, Social Capital, Social Networks, Trust (Psychology)
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 S.W. Main Street, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204-3297; Full text at Web site: http://www.nwrel.org/ruraled/strengthening.html.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Northwest Regional Educational Lab., Portland, OR.