From Akron WKSU-FM Public Radio News, Nov. 16, 2010:
A new study of Akron and 25 other cities shows what people are passionate about in their communities. The three-year “Soul of Community” study focused on places where John S. and James L. Knight were passionate about their newspapers. The Gallup and Knight Foundation concluded people in Akron are passionate about openness and beauty and social life more than leadership and safety. Gallup researcher Katherine Laughlin says the survey offers new approaches for communities to organize themselves for economic growth.
Laughlin says Akron residents feel that the city needs to improve its social offerings and job seeking college graduates are perceived to be the least welcome group.
More at WKSU.org: http://www.wksu.org/news/story/26759
From MinnPost.com, Nov. 16, 2010:
We feel the love for our towns — both here and around the country — because of softer issues, such as social offerings, openness to diverse groups, and the beauty of where we live. And when people care strongly about where they live, indications are that economic growth improves.
Nancy Homans, St. Paul's policy director, told MinnPost that the study "affirms a sense of what connects people to St. Paul" and helps leaders understand "what leads residents to invest in their homes and remodel their kitchens and bathrooms," rather than moving away.
"It's not always easy to put a finger on exactly what creates those connections, but that sense is one of the reasons why our strategic plans includes a section on the soul of St. Paul."
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman added: "What we've known anecdotally now has data to back it up. A city has to be liveable. People can go anywhere in the world to live, so you want your city to be unique and have assets other places don't have. It's nice to affirm that by focusing on these issues, we're actually doing the right thing for business, too."
Note: MinnPost is partially funded by Knight Foundation
From EducationWeek, Nov. 16, 2010:
Americans like where they live for a number of reasons, including their local schools, even though this doesn't necessarily translate into either high regard for the schools or a proclivity to become involved in public education.
"Education tends to be one of the highest rated attachment drivers," according to the report. Social and cultural offerings, "openness" to people of all ages and backgrounds, and aesthetics were the other major reasons why people like where they live. Yet, just 22 percent gave high marks to the quality of local public schools. (The study did not disaggregate findings by whether or not one had children in school.)
"Leaders also have much to gain by improving perceptions of the quality of K-12 education in their communities," according to Knight and Gallup, which surveyed 43,000 Americans in 26 communities. "Not only will this increase attachment overall, but a more positive view of public schools can also help attract families that will help raise the next generation of talent in the communities."
The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Nov. 16, 2010:
Did the Twin Cities get more beautiful in the past couple of years?
That's what you might conclude from the results of a three-year survey of Twin Cities residents as part of a study funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation on what makes people love and feel passionate about their hometowns.
Findings of the study released Monday found that the physical beauty of a community, including good parks and green spaces, was one of the most important factors that makes residents feel loyal. It's more important than jobs or public safety or good community leaders, according to the study.
And Twin Cities residents apparently think the community is pretty good-looking and getting better. About two-thirds gave high marks to the area's parks, playgrounds and trails, up from 56 percent in a 2008 survey. Nearly half said they thought highly of the area's beauty and physical setting, up from 37 percent in 2008.
But loyalty also is closely tied to openness to different types of people, and there, a survey of more than 1,000 area residents wasn't so positive.
More at TwinCities.com: http://www.twincities.com/ci_16622981?nclick_check=1
From The Charlotte Observer, Nov. 16, 2010:
One sign that a community's economy is poised to grow: how much its residents love living there, according to the results of a new study.
Emotional attachment to the Charlotte area has held steady for the last three years and remains above the national average, despite the recession, a three-year Gallup poll of residents in Charlotte and 25 other U.S. cities found.
The Knight Soul of the Community survey found stronger economic growth in the places with the highest levels of emotional attachment. It also found that the biggest drivers of that attachment are social offerings, openness and aesthetics - everything from the ease of meeting new people to the availability of public parks - overshadowing attributes such as education, safety and perceptions of the economy.
More in The Charlotte Observer:
From LuAnn Farrar's Kentucky News Review, Nov. 16, 2010:
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has released its study results from "Soul of the Community." The organization's research included Lexington. According to a the foundation, the intention of the study is to identify "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." The study found that in Lexington social offerings (entertainment infrastructure, places to meet people, community events), openness (how welcoming a place is) and aesthetics (an area's physical beauty and green spaces) are the most important factors in connecting residents to where they live.
Those are also the areas most in need of improvement. For example, residents rated the Lexington area as significantly more open for families with young children in 2010 — making them the group seen as most-welcomed — they see it as least welcoming to immigrants and young talent.
More at Kentucky.com: http://www.kentucky.com/920
From Philadelphia Weekly, Nov. 16, 2010:
OK, we don’t want you to start your Tuesday off too sad: If you’re in Philly too long, this city will eat you alive – nah, just kidding, sorta. It’ll actually help you grow an “emotional bond” which will keep you here, forevermore. And that emotional bond, according to a new study conducted by Gallup and paid for by the Knight Foundation, found that social offerings, openness and beauty were more important to Philadelphians than, say, safety and perceptions about the economy. Therefore – keeping up? – the vague ideas of “social offerings” and “beauty” of the city are the only things that keep the slow, steady economic machine moving at all! [Philadelphia Business Journal]
From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Nov. 15, 2010:
St. Paul residents are more attached to their city than folks in many other cities and that could mean good things for the local economy, according to a study released Monday.
The Soul of the Community report by Gallup and the Knight Foundation, based on three years of data, looked at 25 other cities to gauge people's passion for where they live.
The study has found a positive correlation between community attachment and local economic growth.
More in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/108197439.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiUg7Kk8P3iUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aU7DYaGEP7vDEh7P:DiUs
From the San Jose Business Journal, Nov. 15:
A three-year study found that social offerings, openness and beauty are far more important to San Jose residents than their perceptions of the economy, jobs or basic services, according to a report Monday from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
San Jose residents feel that the city needs to improve its social offerings such as community events, entertainment venues, and arts and culture opportunities.
Immigrants and job-seeking college graduates were perceived to be significantly less welcome in San Jose than in 2009.
More in BizJournals.com: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2010/11/15/knight-foundation-san-jose-must.html
From The Christian Science Monitor:
If you sometimes stop and wonder why you donate to your local school’s annual fundraiser, help plant trees on your town’s main drag or offer free hot cocoa at every street fair, the answer is because you're either very generous or you know what's good for your local economy.
New research suggests when people “love” the culture of their towns, economic prosperity follows. In a three-year Gallup survey of 26 U.S. cities, researchers learned the communities with highest levels of resident attachment — a person's passion for where he or she lives — also had the highest rates of GDP growth over time.
The findings "point to a new perspective that we encourage leaders to consider," said Paula Ellis of the Knight Foundation, which funded the poll. "It is especially valuable as we aim to strengthen our communities during this tough economic time.”
More in The Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Latest-News-Wires/2010/1115/New-research-If-you-love-your-town-prosperity-follows
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?