Civic Intelligence and Community Building
The template for the basic "perspective" chapter follows this paragraph. The
original template (possibly revised) is in Introduction_to_Section_II. (After the chapter is further along — and the template structure is more-or-less finalized, we can remove this extra verbiage.) The basic Plan has four parts: (1) A Introduction to the perspective (2) One or more case studies that show different facets of this perspective. Our decision was, as much as it's possible, not to artificially separate thinking and doing. At the same time we do want to present a variety of approaches, some of which will be better suited for think-work and some will be better suited for action (that plays out in the "real" (or material?) world. (3) Conclusions (4) Finally, a section that includes text book like end-of-chapter exercises, questions for the student, suggested activities, etc.
We probably need to talk about the various relevant interpretations of community building. This should include traditional community development (and "development" generally). It should also include online communities, research & action networks, and new varieties of communities that we can conceptualize that are based to a large degree on civic intelligence.
Civic intelligence promotes the understanding that each of us are responsible for how well the communities in which we live and interact lives up to its potential capacity. The traditional role of service organizations has been to identify deficiencies or problems within specific communities and dole out money and man hours to try and fix the problem. In many cases this has led to a passive populace reliant on charity to meet their needs.
The Asset-Based Community Development Institute is an example of an organization doing significant research and projects to counter this outdated paradigm. Their central focus is on highlighting the resources and skills within communities and leveraging those assets to build communities capable of meeting their own needs.
This chapter will show how strengthening and developing the capacity of communities in whatever shape they take is a foundational part of building a civicly intelligent society.