What Makes People Happy With Their Communities?

Over three years, Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation set out to explore several key questions: What makes a community a desirable place to live? What draws people to stake their future in it?

The answers are important, especially in today’s world, where the most successful cities are able to attract and retain the talented workers that strengthen communities and local economies.

November 26, 2012

Ohio: Eric Anthony Johnson: A sense of ‘place’ matters to Akron

By Eric Anthony Johnson

During all the political conversation of recent months, Americans heard precious little on the national stage about the vitality of our cities. Yet our cities are key to future prosperity and job creation due in large part to the proximity of local economic anchors within their boundaries. These are the places where people live, work and learn and where the art of placemaking will be at the center of building competitive advantages.

August 16, 2012

Community: Taking care of neighborhood is a gift to all

By Chelsea Clarkson and Allison Pinto in The Sarasota Herald-Tribune

With the recent death of Andrea Rody, our community has lost an everyday community changemaker. We are touched by the way in which her neighbors have been coming forth to celebrate her memory, and as fellow residents of the broader Sarasota County community, we want to acknowledge the significance of her contributions as a neighbor, too.

July 02, 2012

Finding ways to better describe, measure and replicate community engagement

Photo Credit: Flickr user callumscott2

While engagement is widely seen as a core feature of the best solutions to community challenges, there isn’t yet an agreed upon way to describe it, copy it, measure it - or even know if it’s spreading.  

how to engage residents as co-producers of change

May 16, 2012

Placemaking: A Blueprint for our Future

Dr. Katherine LoflinKnight Foundation's Soul of the Community

The top-4 attachment factors (full study):

Social offeringsOpenessAesthetics Education

If you weren't able to attend, here's a little background: The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup recognized that there had long been a connection between employee satisfaction and business productivity, and they wondered if the same could be applied to communities. So they set out to see if there was any connection between people’s general feelings of satisfaction about where they lived and the overall productivity and economic health of a community.

April 03, 2012

Paula Ellis interviewed by The Community Foundation on Boulder radio

The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County discussed community attachment one of the key principles of Knight's Soul of the Community research on "A Public Affair" this month. Morgan Rogers and Max Tappet of the foundation interviewed Paula Ellis, VP for Strategic Initiatives, at KGNU Community Radio.

November 08, 2011

Ellis: Libraries are respected brands that can help create strong, resilient communities

Gia Arbogast, branch administrator for the Miami-Dade Public Library System describes how YOUMedia Miami will engage teens in building digital literacy skills

Libraries have a fundamental role in how attached people are to where they live, Knight’s Paula Ellis, vp/strategic initiatives, told a gathering of library and civic leaders last week.

October 05, 2011

'Place Matters' program a fresh venue to discuss community engagement; tune in this morning

Video: Dr. Katherine Loflin worked with leaders from community foundations to find place making opportunities in the results of Knight's Soul of the Community research. Now her radio program will explore similar themes.  


The Knight Soul of the Community project is a groundbreaking study that explores what makes people love where they live, and why it matters. Using primary survey research gathered in 26 U.S. communities by Gallup for Knight from 2008 to 2010, Lead Consultant Dr. Katherine Loflin helped identify a strong correlation between how citizens feel about their local community and economic output of that community.

September 21, 2011

Knight Foundation heads to the 66th Annual Conference on Citizenship to discuss civic health and Soul of the Community


This afternoon Knight Foundation will help lead a discussion on measuring civic health at the 66th Annual National Conference on Citizenship, an annual event that explores the revised roles of citizens, nonprofits, and governments in a 21st century democracy. The theme for this year’s conference is “Redefining America’s Social Compact.”

February 25, 2011

Sharing Soul of the Community with Corpus Christi, Texas

This post is authored by Dr. Katherine Loflin, lead consultant for Soul of the Community. Here, Katherine writes about a presentation she delivered to the community of Corpus Christi, Texas, on Feb. 16.

To be honest, this was the first time I had been a little nervous about a Soul of the Community presentation in a long time.  The day of my arrival to Corpus Christi, Texas, an article appeared in the local paper announcing my visit and telling residents that local Mayor Joe Adame was inviting everyone to come out and hear the presentation.  Great. 

Discover the soul of your community

Great schools, affordable health care and safe streets all help create strong communities. But is there something deeper that draws people to a city – that makes them want to put down roots and build a life?

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