Community of practice

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Communities of practice are groups of people who share a passion for something that they know how to do and who interact regularly to learn how to do it better.

What is a Community of Practice?

Etienne Wenger defines Communities of Practice (CoP) as 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. The learning that takes place is not necessarily intentional.[1]

Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor: a band of artists seeking new forms of expression, a group of engineers working on similar problems, a clique of pupils defining their identity in the school, a network of surgeons exploring novel techniques, a gathering of first-time managers helping each other cope.

Elements of a Community of Practice

Three elements have been identified as essential to the existence and operation of a community of practice:

  1. The domain of shared interest
  2. The community that shares this interest
  3. The practice this community undertakes together

Examples of Communities of Practice

People and organisations in various sectors are now focusing on communities of practice as a key to solve problems, promote the spread of best practices, improve performance, reach targets or maximise the impact of their initiatives. In recent years, practitioners in Community-led initiatives have increasingly commonly begun to work explicitly as communities of practices.

Municipalities in Transition Community of Practice

The Municipalities in Transition project (MiT) links community initiatives (in both urban and rural areas) worldwide working in partnership with local government.[2] The MiT Community of Practice seeks to become an evolving, self-regulated action learning network dedicated to sharing and deepening knowledge arising through experience of collaboration between community-led initiatives and municipal authorities.[3]

GROW Observatory Community of Practice

In order to consolidate practice-based knowledge on land-use and citizen science that is dispersed among various stakeholders, GROW is launching and coordinating a Community of Practice (CoP) as a key mechanism for consolidating the knowledge inside as well as beyond the GROW Observatory consortium.

The GROW Community of Practice (CoP) will facilitate community champions and key partners in working together to develop solutions, tangible examples and tools by collating their experiences and lessons learned through the GROW Observatory.

The GROW CoP will serve as a vehicle for:

  • sharing information and knowledge
  • strengthening the knowledge base about soil and citizen sensing
  • mainstreaming citizen science

Reconomy Community of Practice

The REconomy practitioners local to global virtual community of practice provides peer-to-peer support to entrepreneurs and enterprise ecosystem builders that are reimagining how we can meet our needs, create livelihoods and jobs in ways that are inclusive, socially and ecologically regenerative, fair and resilient.[4]

Transformative Education Community of Practice

Sustainable Communities Programme Community of Practice

UrbanA community of practice

The UrbanA community of practice consists of all active participants in, contributors to and followers of the UrbanA project, its online and offline activities and/or outputs of the UrbanA. The practice it undertakes together is its ongoing engagement in UrbanA through the four Arena events, Arena side events and other project activities. Through these, participants will engage in learning processes that develop and/or deepen local, translocal and regional networks over the three years of the project – and beyond.


  1. Wenger, E. (2000). Communities of Practice and Social Learning Systems. Organization 7 (2): 225-246.
  2. Accessed June 4th 2019.
  3. Accessed June 4th 2019.