When I stopped to think of community that embodies a high sense community in its members, the first place that came to mind was the small, municipal town in Nayarit, Mexico called Carrillo Puerto. Carrillo Puerto is the small town where my parents were born and where their parents were also born and grew up. Although I was born far from it and have only visited Carrillo Puerto for short periods of time, it is a place that quickly comes to mind when thinking of tight communities. Some characteristics present in Carrillo Puerto that provide for a high sense of community as those suggested by McMillan and Chavis (1986) are its residents' sense of belonging, the high influence that residents have on each other, and the familiarity and connection that its residents have with one another. I noticed that in Carrillo Puerto it is very easy to belong when most of its people live in similar homes, dress similarly, and where nobody really stands out. People in Carrillo Puerto influence each other on a daily basis and they depend on one another's skills. As McMillan and Chavis (1986) acknowledged, this interdependence only strengthens the sense of community in its people because not only do they have a way to contribute to the community, but they also have their needs fulfilled within this community. Carrillo Puerto is a small, farming town with a population of about 1,500 people where everything is in walking distance. It is one of those towns where everybody knows everyone. This makes it easy to become familiar with its residents. Wherever you go in this town people will say hello. Residents participate in events that also bring them together such as arranging basketball games where residents could either participate in or come watch.
On the other hand, I currently live in a community where I feel there is a low sense of community. Just thinking about my current neighborhood, I come to realize that we are just a group of strangers that live next to one another. I feel that in large cities such as Phoenix, where there is such a wide range of diversity, it is very easy to lose that sense of community. There is really no real connection between us. With the example of my neighborhood, I feel that we don't influence one another or depend on each other. We all just go to work and come home to our houses, not affecting each other. This makes it very easy to become almost invisible to each other.
Psychological Sense of Community: Theory of McMillan & Chavis (1986). Retrieved from: http://www.wright-house.com/psychology/sense-of-community.html