Community building is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community among individuals within a regional area (such as a neighbourhood) or with a common interest. It is sometimes encompassed under the field of community development.
A wide variety of practices can be utilized for community building, ranging from simple events like potlucks and small book clubs, to larger–scale efforts such as mass festivals and building construction projects that involve local participants rather than outside contractors.
Activists engaged in community building efforts in industrialized nations see the apparent loss of community in these societies as a key cause of social disintegration and the emergence of many harmful behaviors. They may see building community as a means to increase social justice, individual well-being and reduce negative impacts of otherwise disconnected individuals.
"Community building" also refers to a group process developed by Dr. M. Scott Peck. This practice brings together individuals to go through the four basic psychological stages that typify the formation of a cohesive group that has established trust and a deep sense of connection. As described in his book "The Different Drum", these four stages are known as "pseudo-community", "Chaos", "Emptiness" and "Community". Individuals within the group may be at different stages at different times, and may move back and forth through the stages.
According to Peck, moving into "organisation", forming rules for the group, disrupts the process and prevents community.
Pseudo community is where people are guarded but polite, talking of less important things and giving little away about themselves. Chaos is conflict. In Emptiness, participants "empty" themselves of their requirements and desires for the process and the other participants, enabling them to reach Community, in which they appreciate the process and other participants, and themselves, for who they are.
The group "Community Building in Britain" organises group sessions using this process.