Community building is a field of practices that creates a community within a regional area or around a common good, be it based on a neighbourhood, city or virtual. According to psychiatrist Morgan Scott Peck, a community has to have three essential ingredients: inclusivity, commitment, and consensus. Building a community is also crucial to form lasting bonds between members of an endeavour to ensure the commitment that is needed for developing an economic model that is based on peoples’ needs and a common good as a substitute or complement for mainstream economy based on monetary gains.
There are many kinds, shapes and forms of communities and SSE endeavours, and one can imagine an endless variety of projects. Some are very small and contained within a neighbourhood, others can be huge and turn into movements. We are basing on the experiences of the Dobrze Food Co-operative based in Warsaw, Poland with some experience inspired by the Open Jazdów self-managed neighbourhood in the same city.
This chapter is aimed at people who want to improve or establish their own SSE enterprise, start-up or a non-profit initiative from a community perspective. It is a very compact overview on a few useful tools for community building from mapping and planning, to common actions, integration, communication and participatory decision making. The examples presented in this chapter are not an exact prescription for any type of community or initiative but stress the importance of relationships between existing and potential members of an initiative. They are meant to inspire the development of individual community building practices in other parts of the world.