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There is a growing movement of people with a different vision for their local communities. They know that real satisfaction and the good life are not provided by organizations, institutions, or systems. No numbers of great CEOs, central offices, or long range plans produce what a community can produce. People are discovering a new possibility for their lives. They have a calling. They are called. And together they call upon themselves. This possibility is idealistic, and yet it is an ideal within our grasp. It is a possibility that is both idealistic and realistic. Our culture leads us to believe that a satisfying life can be purchased. It tells us that in the place where we live, we don't have the resources to create a good life. This book reminds us that a neighborhood that can raise a child, provide security, sustain our health, secure our income, and care for our vulnerable people is within the power of our community. This book gives voice to our ideal of a beloved community. It reminds us of our power to create a hope-filled life. It assures us that when we join together with our neighbors we are the architects of the future where we want to live.
Amid all the hand-wringing about the loss of community in America these days, here is a book that celebrates the ability of neighborhoods to heal themselves from within. John McKnight shows how competent communities have been invaded and colonized by professionalized services-often with devastating results. Overwhelmed by these social services, the spirit of community falters: families collapse, schools fail, violence spreads, and medical systems spiral out of control. Instead of more or better services, the basis for resolving many of America's social problems is the community capacity of the local citizens.