David Chavis at The Virtual Community Summit - 'The science of community'
David M. Chavis
Virtual Community Summit 2014
20 February 2014
Our goal is to create a beloved
community and this will require a
qualitative change in our souls
as well as a
quantitative change in our lives.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Survival of the Gene
Survival of the Fittest
Just because you call it a
“community” doesn’t make it
We Live in Multiple Real World
and Virtual Communities:
Profession or vocation
Workplace or school
Political and social
Community Development is Very Important
Factors that have the most effect on
human psychological, social, and
physical well-being include:
A sense of Community;
Individual and collective Control and efficacy; and
Cash-adequate economic and other resources.
Research shows that developing a sense of community:
Develops a sense of individual and collective
efficacy and Control, and
Increases access to resources including Cash.
Elements of a Sense of Community
(McMillan & Chavis, 1983)
Meeting needs based on common values;
A shared emotional connection.
Tactics for Strengthening a Sense of
Identify common priorities and needs;
Support collective action on priorities and needs
(e.g. ,small grants, community organizing);
Improve systems of care and other services; and
Improve community environment.
Increase community identification and
identifying other members;
Increase sense of safety and trust;
Clear, but inclusive, boundaries; and
Recognize and reward member success.
Provide and support opportunities for collective
action on priority issues and needs;
Communicate power or influence of similar
people or communities;
Develop leaders who are responsive and
accountable to members; and
Build collective leadership capacity.
Shared Emotional Connection
Promote sense of common history and experiences;
Conduct social events to promote interaction;
Support small wins, nothing builds community like
Communicate successes; and
The Basic Questions for Evaluating
Are you meeting the priority needs of members?
Do members have a sense of membership?
Do your members influence each other, the
community itself and larger systems?
Is there a shared emotional connection?
What are you doing to promote each of these
Bonding (within community, such as neighborhood)
Bridging (across communities)
Linking (with larger systems)
Leads to collective power, resources, and hope
through organized citizen lead efforts.
Community leaders are people who represent their
constituency and are accountable to their
Influencing larger systems.
Five C’s Strategy For
The greatest challenge and opportunity for
community development is to create caring within
and among communities.
When there is caring within and among
communities , there is more equity and justice.