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SEGRA Foundation

The GLUE required for liveable RRR communities


By Simon Boughey, Director, SEGRA Foundation

In 2009, I wrote a paper for SEGRA entitled ‘GLUE’, about how communities and community groups working in neighbourhood, local, community and regional development are all working with a variety of factors to make a positive impact in their area on a range of projects.

I described the challenge of various levels of social strata, individuals and community organisations competing for the resources to make their project a success in the city, peri-urban, rural and remote areas, on the coastal fringe and on our islands across Australia.

Has much changed since 2009?

I think a lot has changed, but the basic building blocks for community sustainability and and liveability remain the same. Building from the bottom up, from the grass-roots and tapping into the layers above to secure resources and services 

GLUE came out of the work I had done with community development, future planning and politics and continued to evolve with my work in agriculture and community development and my time with SEGRA.

So GLUE is:

Gusto: The desire, belief and appreciation of what you are doing and how it will benefit your community and its future.  It is the ability to see the finished product and the project’s future that will benefit your community.

Location: Where you live, the people that make up your community and how they work together to achieve the outcomes they desire. What part does geography, location, social cultures and the cooperation of people play in determining a project’s likelihood of success?

Understanding: What is needed by your community and the people providing the time for the project(s) to proceed? How to make it succeed and who needs to be part of the process?

Energy: Required to do the project from beginning to end, then to provide the mechanisms for the project to continue on into the future.  What and who are the Drivers, Helpers and Closers required to make a project happen, from within and outside your community?

Your community and your GLUE:

Think of your community and where you come from. 

Let’s think for a moment of the various types of communities – geographical, social and other – that make Australia the rich, diverse tapestry that exists today for either singular or any combination in the spectrum of examples listed in the table below. This is not a definitive list, as I am sure we can all think of other communities that exist in our areas, communities and regions across Australia.  Think of some of the communities in your own regions, States and Territories, their variations and how they may operate with their GLUE and their level of success, or not, or the way forward for all of them into the future and the change they are all dealing with over time. 

Overall, I believe GLUE still holds true, but that can be the basis of debate at the 2023 National Regional and Economic Development Summit in Toowoomba.




Local area

Inner city

Urban fringe

Local government

Commuter areas











Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;

Sea-change communities

Tree-change communities

Mountain-change communities

Economic communities

Environmental communities

Social communities

Ethnic communities

Religious communities

Political communities

Ageing communities

Educational and Academic communities