Incidental connections: an analysis of platforms for community building

Document type
Price, Luke
Community Links
Date of publication
1 July 2015
Community Development and Regeneration
Social welfare
Material type

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There are many highly effective formal services and projects seeking to bring people together and create social networks. This paper is primarily interested in those ‘platforms’ - events, groups, activities and/or spaces - at the other end of the spectrum: those that are not explicitly aimed at connecting people but do so anyway. Community Links often use the school gates to illustrate this idea. People primarily use this space to drop-off or pick-up their children, but the connections that occur can result in lasting and valuable friendships. The paper seeks to answer the following questions: 

  • What, if any, characteristics do these platforms share?
  • Why and how are they valuable to those who participate in them?
  • How can we encourage them to flourish without negating their incidental nature?

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