The information in our study covers the city of Long Beach, California.
In each community, the Knight Soul of the Community study identified factors that emotionally attach residents to where they live. Some of these community characteristics that drive attachment were rated highly by residents, and are therefore community strengths while others were rated lower, making them opportunities for improvement. This information can provide communities a roadmap for increasing residents’ emotional attachment to where they live, which the study found has a significant relationship to economic vitality.
Despite the continuing economic challenges, attachment to the City of Long Beach remains basically flat in 2010.
Social offerings (entertainment infrastructure, places to meet people, community events), aesthetics (an area's physical beauty and green spaces) and openness (how welcoming the place is) are the most important factors in connecting residents to where they live.
All of these key drivers for attachment are community strengths. In social offerings, residents rate the nightlife and social community events the highest. In aesthetics, they rate parks, playgrounds and trails the highest. They also find the community to be most open to gays and lesbians. Additionally racial and ethnic minorities are perceived as significantly more welcome in 2010.
Ratings of the local economy increased in 2010; however, the economy is still not a key factor emotionally connecting residents to their communities. Perception of local leadership is rated lower in 2010, but it is not a key driver in attaching residents to Long Beach.