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Art of Community Overview

The Art of Community is a framework for groups of individual people to work together in connection toward wholeness as expressed by their common aim or goal. The organization and its members work in the context of shared core values and are guided by common central tenets.

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Core Values 

  • Connection: the members of the organization value the quality of their working relationships with each other.
  • Equivalence: each member of the organization has an equal voice in deciding the conditions for working together.
  • Effectiveness: members of the organization value getting things done to achieve their shared vision.

Central Tenets

  • Vision: a view or dream of the world the organization is working toward.
  • Mission: how the organization operates in order to realize the vision (internal view).
  • Aim: a product or service that is the focus of work for the organization (external view).


Component Elements and Constituent Models

The component elements of the Art of Community, the "pieces of the pie" in the diagram shown above, include Adaptive Structures, Aim Realization, and Relational Development. The Art of Community integrates three constituent models: Sociocratic Circle-Organization, Compassionate Communication, and Restorative Circles. Read more about these components and models below.

Adaptive Structures

Drawing from Sociocracy, The Art of Community recognizes that an adaptive organizational structure is more flexible and effective than a static one.

Linear HierarchyA linear hierarchy of operational units and leaders supports getting things done.

Linear to CircleEach operational unit periodically meets as a circle to make decisions about how they work together.

Circlular HierarchyEach level of the organization is interconnected, providing the two-way flow of power and accountability.

Aim Realization

How the community makes collaborative decisions and gets things done.

  • Documented, repeatable workflow processes are in place to achieve measurable outcomes.ITO2
  • Consent decisions are made with equivalence of all circle members, producing policies that everyone can live with.

Relational Development

Our structures and processes for living and learning together, transforming conflict and embodying the leading function.

  • Effective communication and interpersonal connection grow from a shared trust that everyone’s needs matter and everyone’s voice is important.
  • Leadership is a function that is shared among members of the organization. Members commit to sharing power and developing their own skills for working together.
  • The organization places a high value on connected relationship and uses restorative practices to transform conflict into connection.

Constituent Models

The Art of Community is an integrated application of three models for governance, interpersonal relationship and conflict transformation.

  • Sociocratic Circle-Organization Method: an integrated governance model featuring organizational structure, meeting and decision-making processes, and workflow mapping.
  • Compassionate Communication: provides a framework for relating with each other based on our shared human experience.
  • Restorative Circles: provides a restorative community practice for transforming conflict into connection.