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glossary of terms

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A Language of Powers of Place Field of Study and Practice

Fundamental to any field of study and practice is finding a shared language of key ideas and concepts. We have heard the following words and phrases to be a natural part of an initial language of the emerging field of powers of place. Feel free to suggest additional terminology as well as reflections on what you see here that would clarify and elaborate meanings.

This list is a simple beginning. It will grow and change as more colleagues become involved with the Powers of Place Initiative.



ART OF HOSTING: An emerging set of practices for facilitating group conversations of all sizes, supported by principles that: maximize collective intelligence; welcome and listen to diverse viewpoints; maximize participant and civility; and transform conflict into creative cooperation.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Physical structures or arrangement of materials in a natural setting that are constructed or composed by man.

COLLECTIVE RESONANCE: Collective Resonance is a felt sense of energy rhythm, or intuitive knowing that occurs in a group of human beings and positively affects the way they interact toward a common purpose. It is not created by human beings, rather, it emerges when they tap into an underlying unity, coherence, and order. It can be felt as a physical level of connection, facilitated by vibrational exchange that operates constantly whether or not we are communicating verbally or are even aware of its existence. It conforms to the laws of physics, among other things.

COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE: “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” - Etienne Wenger

Paraphrasing now… Three characteristics are crucial to a community of practice: - the domain of interest - the quality of relationships that make it a community - the practice, or shared repertoire of resources

CONVENER: A person or persons who gathers together a group usually with a identified purpose; to call or to cause to come together formally; to convoke; from root words for “to come”.

CONNECTOR: (from Wikipedia) Connectors are people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub.

Connectors usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles.

Although connectors are rare—only one in several thousand people might be thought of as a true connector—they are, like mavens and salesmen, very important in the healthy function of civil society and business.

continued on glossary page 2


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