This book is about a new possibility for us together to discover the real basis for a satisfying life. It is a life that becomes possible when we join our neighbors in creating a community that nurtures our family and makes us useful citizens. We are besieged by messages from consumer society telling us that we are insufficient, that we must purchase what we need from specialists and systems outside the community. We outsource our health care, child care, relationships, recreation, our safety, and our satisfaction. We are trained to become consumers and clients, not citizens and neighbors. McKnight and Block take a thoughtful look at how this situation came about, what maintains it, and the crippling effect it has had on our families, our communities, and our environment. Right in our neighborhood we have the capacity to address our human needs in ways that systems, which see us only as interchangeable units, as problems to be solved, never can. We all have gifts to offer, even the most seemingly marginal among us. It does not matter how rich or poor the neighborhood is.
McKnight and Block suggest how to nurture voluntary, self-organizing structures that will reveal these gifts and allow them to be shared to the greatest mutual benefit. They recommend roles we can assume and actions we can take to reweave the social fabric that has been unraveled by consumerism and its belief that however much we have, it is not enough. Each neighborhood has people with the gifts and talents needed to provide for our prosperity and peace of mind this book offers practical ways to discover them. It gives voice to the ideal of an abundant community. It reminds us of our power to create a hope-filled life. It assures us that when we join together with our neighbors, we are the architects of the future where we want to live.