In the digital age, where one can easily connect with likeminded people half a world away, technology is redefining the concept of 'community.'
So at Knight Foundation, with its focus on community building, we wanted to ask: Does a sense of place really matter anymore?
As it turns out, place does matter greatly ' and could have an impact on the local economy.
A three-year Gallup study, funded by Knight, has found that people's love for their community may be a leading indicator for economic growth.
Also, the top three things that make people passionate about their community are not what you might think.
Jobs, the economy or even basic services didn't top the list.
Instead, the leading three factors are:
- a community's social offerings, or whether it has places where people can gather and meet;
- its openness, or how welcoming it is to many different types of people;
- and its physical beauty, or aesthetics.
We believe the findings from the Soul of the Community survey offer a fresh perspective on how to strengthen communities, and attract the kind of talented workers that cities need to thrive in the 21st century.
We hope that local leaders will use this information, to take steps to increase residents' passion for their city and to make them more engaged and involved.
In Miami, Charlotte and Detroit, leaders have already begun to implement the findings.
Visit our site, www.soulofthecommunity.org, and learn more about how increasing people's attachment to their community can strengthen cities and ensure a brighter future for all.
- Paula Ellis
Vice President/Strategic Initiatives