RSA: Community and the death of the English Village

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth
HH: Agree. It would be a dystopia. But fellowship and camaraderie are important – just not for running the country. A sense of boundaries in a group is not inherently a bad thing. MT: Cites [Straw Dogs]( "Straw Dogs") and [Royston Vasey]( – the closed villages. CA: Those are disappearing. Those pubs are being replaced by middle class expensive venues. Some groups who run things are very effective, like the 250 community shops. Once started, they very rarely stop.  HH: the social element keeps them together once the idealism fades. CA: Objecting to something really does bring people together.  HH: Communities of interest tend to be less homogeneous. Common interest can blind you to other factors of difference. Leaders are hugely important. They need to be thick-skinned and directive, but not a dictator. All groups that last have someone in this role. CA: Some people are prepared to invest incredible amounts of time in their community. Natural leaders can take over villages.**Questions**

*Q1: Hasn’t the outsider always been incredibly successful? They don’t want to integrate. How should they be able to live in your ideal?
CA: it is now possible to be in neighbourhood as an outsider. It wasn’t for most of history – you were the witch. But people who have down well have less of a sense of local responsibility that they did in the squireachical age. Public space is hugely important because it is where people meet.

Q2: choice versus compulsion: choosing who you associate with, rather than having that chosen by location

(no discussion of this)

Q3: do we lose something by abandoning geographic community with it’s accountability and responsibility.

CA: That local community just doesn’t exist. We don’t have the chance to develop that. 
MT: But is there something more important about local?
CA: it is qualitatively different, and I wouldn’t want to see it abandoned. But we can’t engineer it from outside.

Q4: live in a village, but spend my weeks in London. The larger a human community gets, everything scales, good and bad, culture and crime.

CA: the Internet gives us both.

*Q5: that nomadic group of 150 is just a moving village. 
MT: Lambeth has 50% turnover – how do you build community amongst that?

*Q6: Psychological roots of groups?
HH: 12 is very important. Effective groups. Evolution: those who hung out in groups survived, those who struck out on their own didn’t. A book group that went from 12 to 20 stopped working. Scale is important.

CA: anti-nomad, spent a lot of time travelling around a regret it. The Internet allows us to find communities of interest that re non-locks, but people are happier when decisions are taken locally.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.