In a similar fashion discussion of '' is fraught with difficulties – it is, essentially, a social term that can be associated with a particular place, or it can be applied to a network or group of people with a shared interest (see the article on ). The vast bulk of writing about sustainable communities is concerned with place. What is often meant by community in these discussions is actually a particular area. Here, as we will see below, it is probably most helpful to think in terms of . By this we mean 'a residential or mixed used area around which people can conveniently walk. Its scale is geared to pedestrian access...' (Barton 2000: 5). In many towns and cities neighbourhoods blend into each other – the result of many years of development and change. Where one neighbourhood begins and another ends can be a matter of fierce debate amongst locals. Three other things about neighbourhoods are also worth noting at this point (and here we are following Barton 2000: 5). First, planners will often view neighbourhoods essentially as a setting for a particular function e.g. as a base for home life, employment, retail activities and so on. Second, people will often associate particular experiences, hopes and values to an area. This sense of localness and distinctiveness provides us with a sense of place. Last, a neighbourhood might well provide hook for feelings of community and the setting for the sorts of relationships and networks that we call community.


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