Community building is essential to building commercial centers.
My interests in the way Shorewood develops revolve around the concept of “community building.”
Community involves the social interaction that takes place among the three generations and today, it might be among four generations.
That interaction can easily be observed taking place, especially in small towns. These are the places where the three or four generations are likely to be present, forming and functioning as the heart of the community and what make the community work.
Towns outside the United States are more likely to present this community function than the small towns in the U.S. do.
In a significant number of cases, all three or all four of the generations were born there and actively functioning as important members of that interaction.
What I've described here is perhaps almost completely absent in urban suburbs. Where some of younger segments of suburban population may have been born in the a place like Shorewood, and on the other hand few, if any of the parents or grandparents were born there.
It is not likely that the youngest of the population will remain there many years or even months after leaving for college. So that in suburbs, we cannot expect to find the “rooted” nature of community that we find in small towns. Parents may leave the community soon after their children do.
Therefore, the function of community building in suburbs presents a completely different task. Where community is already in existence, all that is necessary is to make sure that those elements are working well. Perhaps no intervention is needed at all.
The suburb most first of all identify those elements and then bring about the means for their interaction, fully acknowledging that few if any three-generation blood-lines exist.
The three-generation function is less likely to be within the family and needs to become the relationship of the overall community. Most people of the three generations at first being of different families without any previous interaction. So the structure rather than a natural one is one that is invented and artificially superimposed.
The concept of community building in the development of new towns pretty much over all of Europe and the experience gained there by planners can be applied in the development and redevelopment of suburbs in the U.S.
Community is accepted by most social scientists to be an indispensable essential element of human development and essential to the development of our humanity, otherwise, why should effort be expended in bringing it about or in making it work.
In a sense community is like education. It is important for our overall development. And like education, its importance must be constantly promoted.
Once we can tie in community with its economic importance to our community as we do with education, then it is easier to give attention to it. In small communities, community function is important in maintaining the economic importance of their community centers.
Absent the community function, the commercial center as the expression of that community is left without a particular personality and without the social elements that give it that function.
Therefore, in our invention we must invent all those elements of community and community center. The land values that evolve because of community and its function, then contribute to the physical nature of community building.
My interest in land values is therefore primarily a social interest, that of gaining value through community building. The additional economic returns will then help promote that interest as it does with education and then also contribute to the secondary cost of community building.