Story | 23 Dec, 2019

Building Community - Twelve Principles for a Healthy Future

CEESP News: James S. Gruber, PE, PhD, the director of the Environmental Studies' doctoral program at Antioch University New England and CEESP Member

Dr. Gruber's book, publishing in Spring 2020, entitled Building Community - Tweleve Principles for a Healthy Future, looks through 28 case studies of communities around the world conserving natural resources while promoting economic and social justice, this resource gives concrete examples of how leaders can engage their communities to enhance their well-being.

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Building Community - Twelve Principles for a Healthy Future

Photo: James Gruber

This book seeks to help answer the questions:

  1. How can local communities be part of addressing our global challenges such as climate change, inequality/injustice, and ecological conservation of critical resources
  2. How can local communities lead the way in findingsolutions to a more sustainable society?

The thesis of this book is that strong local communities are the foundation of a healthy, participatory, and resilient society. Rather than looking to national governments, corporations, or new technologies to solve environmental and
social problems, we can learn and apply the successes of thriving communities to protect the
environment, enhance local livelihood, and grow social vitality.

Joyful children and youth of Ou Allons Nous-Oan, Kinshasa, DRC %3Cp%3EJoyful%20children%20and%20youth%20of%20Ou%20Allons%20Nous-Oan%2C%20Kinshasa%2C%20DRC%3C%2Fp%3E%0A Photo: James Gruber


Joyful children and youth of Ou Allons Nous-Oan, Kinshasa, DRC (Photo credit: James Gruber)



Exploring how community building can be approached by local citizens and their local
leaders, Building Community features:
• A chapter on each of the 12 Guiding Principles, based on research in 27 countries
• Over 30 knowledgeable contributing author-practitioners
• Critical practical leadership tools
• Notes from the field – with practical dos and don'ts
• Twenty-five case studies of communities that have learned to thrive, including towns and
villages, inner-city neighborhoods, indigenous groups, nonprofits, women's empowerment
groups, and a school, business, and faith community

It was written for community leaders, activists, planners, policy makers, and students looking to
help their communities thrive. More information about book by James Gruber (New Society
Publishing) is provided on this website:

A community visioning in Bassar, Togo A community visioning in Bassar, Togo Photo: Nicole Wengerd


A community visioning in Bassar, Togo (Photo credit: Nicole Wengerd)



 I hope this book can be useful for lay-leaders of local communities. Unfortunately, it will only be available in English. Please let me know if you have any questions about this resource at

Case studies and examples are from:

Town of La Gonave, Haiti                                                   Lake Victoria area, Kenya

Community of Ixtlán de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico           Alanya, Turkey     

Towns of Ohrid and Struga, Macedonia                          Apuseni Mountain Communities, Romania

Town Pogradec, Albania                                                  Village of Bikotiba, Togo

Inner-City Community of Kinshasa, DRC                       Village of Hiwara Bazar, India

Geshwati Community Forest Community, Rwanda       Loja, Ecuador

Magombera Forest in Tanzania                                       City of Sophia, Bulgaria

Village of Fian, Ghana                                                      Local Communities in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

Rural Northern Ghana                                                      Thirteen US cities and towns