Ways We Live


170 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 0-86571-363-4
DDC 307




Reviewed by Christine Hughes

Christine Hughes is a policy analyst at the Ontario Native Affairs


Based on a 10-part television documentary series of the same name, Ways
We Live explores the meaning of community from a variety of
perspectives. The chapters consider the overall significance of
community to individuals and how people strive to create community
within the places they live. Many of the examples cited are drawn from
British Columbia and California.

An introductory chapter sets out the origins of the television series
and identifies some of the goals of the book. Each of the nine chapters
that follow examine a different aspect of community living. The final
chapter presents a summary of the themes discussed, the questions
raised, and the future outlook. Some of the forms of community and
topics considered include recreational vehicle (RV) communities, housing
cooperatives, intentional communities, communal co-ops, the cyberspace
“virtual” community, community design, the use of mapping to engage
people in the process of community, communities of immigrants, elderly,
and disabled, and efforts to create community in urban areas. The
chapters make interesting case studies and can be read together, or on
their own as unique snapshots of a specific type of community or
community concern.

Each chapter contains a number of black-and-white photographs with
images from the television series. There is also an interesting, but not
exhaustive, list of sources for suggested reading. The book’s
easy-to-read, informal text is punctuated with numerous personal
anecdotes from a large cast of characters. It would appeal to general
readers interested in the concept of community as well as sociologists,
anthropologists, and community planners.


Berlin, Susan., “Ways We Live,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/30848.