A Framework for Creating Thriving New Communities: Social Life


Social Life wrote this report ‘Design for Social Sustainability‘ in 2012.

I’ve taken out key pages – the ones with the really helpful diagrams – to make it quicker for you to get the useful bits. Read the report for contextual insights.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 13.24.26

Reference 39 is: Mulgan, G. (January 2009) Feedback and belonging: Explaining the dynamics of diversity

It’s helpful to have types of community ties articulated like this when thinking about creating communities. Ties at all levels have value.

This is the design for the social sustainability framework:

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 13.22.56

These are the building blocks mapped out…


…and here’s more detail about what specifically can be actioned to create a strong sustainable community.





I’m happy to see interventions that can strengthen communities made sense of in this way. I’ve been involved with community projects, from creating networks of older people in Kensington & Chelsea to instigating a sense of community in a council, and I’ve implemented interventions listed here – community engagement over local issues, creating a sense of shared space, and events to facilitate inter-generational mixing, to name a few. I would agree that these are indeed the building blocks of creating a community.

Since they are based on human interactions – conversations and events – I feel that sometimes their value can be overlooked. Human interactions can be difficult to measure – so they can be difficult to put a price on. They also have long term rather than short term effects. Participle did some work on measuring interactions. Go have a look at that.

If you’ve worked on community building projects, what interventions have you implemented? What worked for you? How did you communicate the value and impact of those interventions? Post a comment or drop me an email at liorsmith [at] me [dot] com. How communities are constructed fascinates me – let’s have a conversation.

All images from Design for Social Sustainability by Social Life.

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