A local community is a community living in a separate, relatively small territory, such as a parish or village, in which there are strong ties resulting from common interests and needs, as well as a sense of rootedness and belonging to the place inhabited.
The elements that bind the local community are:
- space (geographically demarcated area),
- the population living in this space,
- social interactions between residents,
- the common bonds of people and institutions, which makes the collective characterised by internal integration, which in turn makes it possible to take joint action to solve local problems,
- a sense of belonging to the place where they live, expressed in attitudes described as so-called local patriotism.
Local communities have spatial, social and psychological dimensions. People express their emotional relationship to land and community.
The elements that have a strong influence on the realisation of the common interests of the local community are the associations, NGOs or community groups operating in their area that are the expression of these interests. In traditional societies, local communities have more autonomy, their own social norms regulating their activities. A factor that catalyses the process of transformation of territorial communities into local communities is the participation of the territory’s inhabitants in social actions, with those with higher social status and a broader perception of the collective’s common interests being more likely to participate in such actions.
The local community is also the stage on which local conflicts are fought between residents, local government representatives or entrepreneurs operating in the territory of the community. The objects of conflict are usually:
- distribution of wealth in social space,
- increasing economic diversification,
- competences of community leaders,
- the appropriation of public space, e.g. by affecting it without the consent of others.