We focus on new building, cool technologies, green and energy efficient materials, but with little thought to how we nurture community itself. His argument was that simply looking after the environment better was one half of the story, managing the community better was the other. In other words: invest in the environment and in the community, but that you can’t solve the problem just by building new houses.
I have some sympathy with this: we see all the time in online spaces that the technology is incidental to experience. We can put in place the best socially collaborative technology, but end up with no community if we don’t nurture and support it effectively. Similarly, we can see community forging links in the most basic and outdated sites, where common interests drive it.
Technology is good, but it’s half the story. Understanding the everyday reality of the learner and ensuring that community spaces are moderated and managed correctly is the other: including setting rules and holding people to account (both participants and contributors).
Community is a delicate thing, but it’s more than infrastructure.