Thursday, September 8, 2011

Communities are Defined By Geography

Communities are defined by the proximity of the people and the level of their interaction. The defining line between communities is their geographical location. In America, the common saying, “they are from the other side of the tracks” makes reference to the ever present dividing geographical lines between communities. Rollin’s college can be considered a community because it is made up of a group of people living in the same general location with a level of social interaction among the residents there. Communities are identifiable by their geographical groupings.

Today, neighborhoods, or even streets qualify as a community– the main factor that separates them is the proximity of the residents and how bonded they are socially. Winter Park is made up of, arguably, four main communities. These four mega communities can be reduced to more specific, tighter knit communities such as a street or section of a street; where the residents are more closely bonded. They are, in my view, the neighborhoods near Winter Park High School, Rollin’s College Campus, directly west of the tracks, and directly east of the tracks. These communities are all physically separated by neighborhoods, railroad tracks, college campus limits, and major roads. There are standards that are built with the community that make the dividing line more obvious because they create a general culture for the community. Some communities like west-side Winter Park have deeply rooted historical and cultural ties set in that side of Winter Park. Other neighborhoods like Baldwin Park, a newly formed community and neighborhood, has only recently started forming its standards. Currently the only obvious commonality among the residents is their ability to afford living there. However the geographical location of the community also affects such things as cost of housing.

Communities tend to have similar prices of living within the community, and usually this differs from the communities nearby. The best example would be west and east side Winter Park, the west-side houses are valued lower than the east side houses in Winter Park. Price seems directly linked to culture and location when it comes to communities. Also, once these neighborhoods and community standards are in place they are near irreversible because incoming residents decide on joining their future community based on its location and by extension the price of living and the cultural background the community set in place. My neighborhood, Audubon Park, is a community sought out by new families because it is made up of new families and is geographically located near three reputable schools in a middle-class neighborhood setting– culturally and historically created for the families of the naval officers who were stationed at the navy base in the 1950’s.

The one factor that delineates the differences between communities, in my view, is the physical setting of the community, the group of people who live and interact with each other. These physical and geographical dividers can be major roads, neighborhoods, railroad tracks or even streets. The standards created by that group in that location are secondary and only further define the lines– the location, geographically, is what draws the lines to begin with.

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