In the classic sense, community is defined as a group of members who live in a certain locality and interact with one another while sharing common interests or goals. The concept of community has expanded over the last several decades, and three main types of communities are generally identified. These are geographic communities, communities of interest and virtual communities.
According to the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition, the word "communities" has been used in the English language since the 14th century to refer to groups of people within a district who share characteristics and a sense of identity. The concept of community was expanded in the 19th century to describe the relationships of people within larger societies.
Geographic communities are those in which members share the same physical space. These are communities in the most traditional sense. Members share relationships with physical structures in the geographic region, such as a river or mountain. Communities of interest are smaller groups within geographic communities. They consist of people who are united by a certain belief or goal. For example, all of the runners in a certain city can be referred to as that city's "running community." The concept of community has also expanded to include virtual communities, which are defined as groups of people who interact via communication media rather than face-to-face.