Netting and Kettner (1998) review the notion of community as applied to social work macro practice. Citing Felin (1995) they explain that community occurs when “a group of people form a social unit based on common location, interest, identification, culture and/or activities”. They then outline 3 types of communities (1) geographic or place-based, (2) functional based on identification / interest, and (3) personal/social networks. Methods to understand social networks have advanced considerably since the late 1990s. Nicholas Christakis is a leader of social network analysis. I found the following figure from a recent paper in Annals of Internal Medicine.
There is tremendous opportunity to apply these analytical techniques to understanding community development and social work macro practice.