Friday, October 26, 2012

What Makes You Part of a Community?

This blog entry is reposted from the Stable Communities blog

Avenue CDC photo courtesy of
Epic Shots Photography
A three-year study by Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 26 communities has been exploring the factors that attach residents to their communities and how community attachment plays a role in an area's economic growth and well-being. In general, the study results have shown that cities with the highest levels of attachment had the highest rate of GDP growth.

The Knight Soul of the Community (SOTC) study has studied residents' attachment to their communities — and how it's related to economic development — over 3 years, using interviews in English and Spanish with 14,000 residents.

The study analyzed 10 "domains" that were found to drive community attachment at varying levels:
  • Basic services — community infrastructure
  • Local economy
  • Safety
  • Leadership and elected officials
  • Aesthetics — physical beauty and green spaces
  • Education systems
  • Social offerings — opportunities for social interaction and citizen caring
  • Openness/welcomeness — how welcoming the community is to different people
  • Civic involvement — residents’ commitment to their community through voting or volunteerism
  • Social capital — social networks between residents

The SOTC site has results by community, a video gallery. Of special interest to community organizers and others working in their community include reports, videos and data that can be downloaded and shared. A Twitter feed provides a place to share experiences (with hashtag #SOTC).