Community

Let’s regain control of our lives by strengthening our interdependent bonds with friends, family, neighbors and community.

Highlighted Community Actions
Create a community coworking space.
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Create a community coworking space.

Modern workplaces often cut us off from each other and the outside world in the name of "efficiency" and "productivity." Coworking spaces break down many of those barriers, while providing affordable shared spaces for small local businesses. But like many aspects of the sharing economy, this idea has been co-opted by multinational companies that try to cash in on remote work trends. The examples below are about people at the grassroots coming together to design and share mutually beneficial spaces.

Take action

  • The Hoffice Movement, started in Sweden, helps people arrange gatherings to work, network, eat, socialize, exercise and more – simply by helping establish group offices in members’ living rooms and kitchens. There are more than 2000 groups worldwide; visit Find or Start a Hoffice Group on the Hoffice Movement website to get started. 
  • For those who need more space, the article Is Your Community Ready for Coworking? from Shareable offers stories and advice for building community coworking spaces outside of the home. 

Get inspired

  • The Welsh Mill Hub in Frome, UK, is an excellent example of a shared workspace and community center. It was started by young adults in the Edventure Frome community enterprise program. 
  • The Totnes REconomy Project in the UK set up a coworking space, the Totnes REconomy Centre, to create a place for new economic relationships to grow.

Create a community coworking space.

Modern workplaces often cut us off from each other and the outside world in the name of "efficiency" and "productivity." Coworking spaces break down many of those barriers, while providing affordable shared spaces for small local businesses. But like many aspects of the sharing economy, this idea has been co-opted by multinational companies that try to cash in on remote work trends. The examples below are about people at the grassroots coming together to design and share mutually beneficial spaces.

Take action

  • The Hoffice Movement, started in Sweden, helps people arrange gatherings to work, network, eat, socialize, exercise and more – simply by helping establish group offices in members’ living rooms and kitchens. There are more than 2000 groups worldwide; visit Find or Start a Hoffice Group on the Hoffice Movement website to get started. 
  • For those who need more space, the article Is Your Community Ready for Coworking? from Shareable offers stories and advice for building community coworking spaces outside of the home. 

Get inspired

  • The Welsh Mill Hub in Frome, UK, is an excellent example of a shared workspace and community center. It was started by young adults in the Edventure Frome community enterprise program. 
  • The Totnes REconomy Project in the UK set up a coworking space, the Totnes REconomy Centre, to create a place for new economic relationships to grow.
Implement participatory budgeting where you live.
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Implement participatory budgeting where you live.

Participatory budgeting is a way for citizens to actively engage in deciding how their tax money is spent. Local residents not only discuss and vote on public investments, they also develop and present ideas. Participatory budgeting has been implemented by more than 2,700 governments and 1,700 cities worldwide.
 

Take Action 

Implement participatory budgeting where you live.

Participatory budgeting is a way for citizens to actively engage in deciding how their tax money is spent. Local residents not only discuss and vote on public investments, they also develop and present ideas. Participatory budgeting has been implemented by more than 2,700 governments and 1,700 cities worldwide.
 

Take Action 

Start or join a local theater group.
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Start or join a local theater group.

Community theater is a great way to take back entertainment from corporations like Disney and Netflix, and put it in local hands. It also provides a creative way to illuminate issues important to the community.

Take action

  • The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) provides a step-by-step guide to starting up a local theater company. They also describe the responsibilities and tasks of "theater people" ranging from stage managers and set designers to choreographers.
  • The Community Theater Green Room offers tips from actors, directors and theater crews on props, lighting, and effects – from “cut and paste walls” to “realistic wrinkles” – as well as advice on fundraising, insurance and other matters.
  • For those who want to participate in community theater for the first time, this Beginners Guide to Community Theatre gives useful tips on auditions, rehearsals, performances, and more.

Be inspired

  • Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont, US has been creating politically charged entertainment for more than 50 years. A core group of puppeteers is supplemented by community volunteers of all ages – no experience required.
  • Bibi Bulak, in Timor Leste, was a political theater troupe covering, among other topics, food sovereignty, environmental issues, and poverty. Part of the Arte Moris nonprofit arts school, it produced plays, dramas for community radio stations, and songs to communicate social and environmental messages to mass audiences.

Start or join a local theater group.

Community theater is a great way to take back entertainment from corporations like Disney and Netflix, and put it in local hands. It also provides a creative way to illuminate issues important to the community.

Take action

  • The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) provides a step-by-step guide to starting up a local theater company. They also describe the responsibilities and tasks of "theater people" ranging from stage managers and set designers to choreographers.
  • The Community Theater Green Room offers tips from actors, directors and theater crews on props, lighting, and effects – from “cut and paste walls” to “realistic wrinkles” – as well as advice on fundraising, insurance and other matters.
  • For those who want to participate in community theater for the first time, this Beginners Guide to Community Theatre gives useful tips on auditions, rehearsals, performances, and more.

Be inspired

  • Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont, US has been creating politically charged entertainment for more than 50 years. A core group of puppeteers is supplemented by community volunteers of all ages – no experience required.
  • Bibi Bulak, in Timor Leste, was a political theater troupe covering, among other topics, food sovereignty, environmental issues, and poverty. Part of the Arte Moris nonprofit arts school, it produced plays, dramas for community radio stations, and songs to communicate social and environmental messages to mass audiences.
Reconnect to end loneliness and build community.
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Reconnect to end loneliness and build community.

Because the global economic system promotes and depends upon competition, individualism, and separation, it has created what is being increasingly recognized as an epidemic of loneliness. In the long run, putting an end to this epidemic will require shifting from a growth- and consumption-obsessed global economic system to a plurality of local, sufficiency-based economies. In the meantime, connecting with others can both relieve the sense of loneliness we feel, while also helping to bring about systemic cultural and economic shifts.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Check out Shareable's e-book Community Solutions to the Loneliness Epidemic, which is brimming with strategies, projects, policies and inspiring examples from around the world showing how building community is the antidote to loneliness.

Reconnect to end loneliness and build community.

Because the global economic system promotes and depends upon competition, individualism, and separation, it has created what is being increasingly recognized as an epidemic of loneliness. In the long run, putting an end to this epidemic will require shifting from a growth- and consumption-obsessed global economic system to a plurality of local, sufficiency-based economies. In the meantime, connecting with others can both relieve the sense of loneliness we feel, while also helping to bring about systemic cultural and economic shifts.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Check out Shareable's e-book Community Solutions to the Loneliness Epidemic, which is brimming with strategies, projects, policies and inspiring examples from around the world showing how building community is the antidote to loneliness.
The Big Picture

This Guide describes localization initiatives in particular sectors of the economy – food, energy, business, and so on. But no matter what aspect you get involved in, you’ll find that localization is about connection, and it starts with reaching out to like-minded friends and neighbors to form or join a hub of mutual support. Doing so not only enables you to undertake meaningful collective action on social and environmental issues, it also links you to community structures that offer profound healing at the individual level. This is why localizing is so intimately connected to strengthening community, and why reversing the process of globalization – which systematically undermines community – is so important.

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In modern, industrialized countries – and increasingly in the global South as well – the traditional connections between family, neighbors, and community have been badly eroded. We are told that our independence is a good thing, that relying on others is to be avoided. Combine that with advertising designed to produce dissatisfaction, and social media that heightens insecurity, and it’s no wonder that rates of depression, anxiety, addiction and suicide are rising in almost every country around the world.  

The first step towards reversing this situation is summoning the courage to be open and honest with one another. By revealing our own vulnerabilities and supporting others as they do the same, we can dissolve the illusions created by mass-media and curated Instagram profiles, in favor of more profound and real connections.  

The actions in this section are about connecting with others, whether through an informal "gift” economy, through community art, theater, and media, through neighborhood associations, through intentional communities like ecovillages, and more. In every case, people share something of themselves in order to counteract the fragmentation that is reaching unprecedented, inhumane levels. In the process, they improve their own well-being while making the world a better place.  

These initiatives are like lifeboats of both ecological and community wellbeing, offering resilience and sustenance in a crisis-ridden world. In all of the projects described here, the synergetic power of coming together in community pushes against the forces that are separating us, helping to create pockets of healthier, happier and more sustainable futures.