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Abstract

The study of and practice in communities requires a theoretic construct of an overarching conceptualization that can "sweep-in" existing paradigms; variant epistemological foundations and methodological directives for complex community development. The purpose of this paper is to identify and define the existing epistemological and methodological approaches to communities with the objective of coalescing them into a unified system of inquiry. The intent is to first raise the level of abstraction in and about a community that goes beyond the confines of any (or combined) paradigm. In so doing, one can converge a polarity of opposing positions to the study and understanding of communities. This is a social design professional activity: the arrangement of, and the processes of arranging and rearranging the human, social and technical resources of a community to achieved desired results. Secondly, a social design function builds community systems by anticipating human and social needs: developing strategies for realization and tactics for their implementation.

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