The word community has many meanings to many people, primarily because communities are social constructions created by the individuals they are composed of and who define membership criteria, whether intentionally or by happenstance. For most people, community typically refers to a place and the people who reside in that place (ghetto, neighborhood, city, region, or state). For others, community refers to individuals who share the same religious faith, occupation or profession, interests or values, ethnic heritage or identity, political beliefs, culture, kinship relationships, or life circumstances. This entry describes contextual variation that defines community across the lifespan, its resources and assets, its potential to effect change through lifelong learning, and the emergence of university–community partnerships to create transformational change through evidence-based practices.

Community Membership

Most individuals belong ...

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