I have always indulged myself observing people move through their life and make a living for them. The strange dependence that human beings have with each other is interesting to observe. But in this strange society, we all are bound by moral values, laws and expectations. I can never completely understand this mere presence of poverty that stares and the meaning of it. If it even means anything to be poor in a society and make your way through struggle, or born rich and stumble through pitfalls of social disaster. The examples of such scenarios are abundant in our society.
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I consider myself very lucky to have spent my childhoods in between urban and rural areas. I was exposed to city life and rural lifestyle parallel. This has made my experience rich in those terms. More importantly, I could very much say that the society that I was living in was an experimental one. It was the convergence and harmony between village and urban technology, living hand in hand. I lived in the midst of Agricultural Research Centre which had at that time, the most advance technology for research and science purpose. This was during 90s. Later in my life, I was told that the whole project was evolved to help the community make their living sustainable.
You can imagine that this had tremendous impact on how I wanted to live my life in future - in the midst of research and technology, helping society figure out a way to be efficient. Interestingly, though it was 90s, I happen to touch and feel laptop before PCs. My father would bring this foldable DOS OS laptop and I would watch him type in WordStar. The first command that I ever learned was the BACKSPACE key, which my father would repetitively use. At one instance, I was so eagerly watching him type that, I hurriedly pressed the key before he did, which amused him a lot and made him run to my mother to explain the drama. (Similar incident happened once I took a scissor and hold a cotton to clean my wounds. It was something taught in our first-aid class and it amused him more, thinking I would opt for studying Medicine in future. But BACKSPACE key was more interesting than a scissor and cotton. ) These days, he often consults with me his problems on outlook mail and excels sheets. J These things make life very interesting.
Anyway coming back to my main point, I would sometime visit research labs full of PCs and get lost observing the FISH theme screen saver. It was the most inspiring and interesting time, which would remain with me forever. The house I lived in was simple and well equipped with furniture and resource supply, I never thought there was anything more that I would need in my life. The place was beautiful with changing climate, which made it all interesting. There were times, when the sky would be filled with brown flies and frogs all set to feed on them. We also had 7 important channels, delivered to our house through DISH antennae. All I wanted was to work like my father and contribute to make this society efficient in terms of economy and culture. Ohh!! How I miss those days and simplicity. But I guess, I had to move on to explore the horizon. So among my many friends I was the first one to live the place and move to city for my further degree. Since then, I have never found existence of any community as vibrant and efficient.
This is what brings to me the main topic - Struggle to build an efficient and growing community. Its bliss these days to even find any, though there existence is rare. After almost 3 years of start-up experience and struggle, I can see why it’s so difficult to have such systems. There are so many variables and difficulties in establishing a profitable business of value with efficiency. I guess more time is spent in experimenting and learning what works and what doesn’t and you need to change as it comes around. I find the management of resources and involving them into goal-oriented project, the main challenge. You have to look at the value your company is presenting to the business and how you are doing it. You need to communicate with potential partners to create better opportunity and scalable business. During all this, you need to clearly know the distracting factors too, because that is important for growth and sustainability and those factors have potential to make it or break your company. Similarly with the community, there are many factors which encourage the members of the community to participate and move alone, but negligence to counter the distracting factor could heavily falter the growth and demise of the community. I think that is what happened to the place that I lived during my childhood, though the place exists, I hear it’s not as interesting and vibrant as before.
So the final thought, how can we build a sustainable community? Can they be designed? If so how? Here are few thoughts of mine. First of all, the landscape of the community is very important because that is going to define a lot of things like economy, culture and population. The space where people live is very important, as they affect the emotions of people. I believe that space can affect human’s senses in lot many ways then we can imagine. Along with landscape comes the important role of resources and there management. A community is a combination of people with variety of skills and interest, which can be channelized for betterment of the society. Any rejection of such human resource could result into migration. Then comes the efficient economy of the society and how they can be managed without much lose. The continuous flow of financial transaction between people is one of the parameters to consider the health of the society. Off course the culture is important which binds people together with the feeling of oneness and one. Absence of culture could result in frustration and dissociation of the community because community is the higher realization of individual which is as important as individual.
The last statement could be controversial as it raises the debate between individualism and communal behaviour, but there is some practical implication where both fail to answer deep rooted question of life and society. Being open-minded can only be the way to resolve this issue rather than following some hardcore philosophies.
As you can see, the question of community design is important in today’s society. It can come in a form of an organisation design or community design. I believe both follow similar line of thought.