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What Attaches People to Their Communities?

What makes a community a desirable place to live? What draws people to stake their future in it? Are communities with more attached residents better off?

Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation launched the Knight Soul of the Community project in 2008 with these questions in mind. After interviewing close to 43,000 people in 26 communities over three years, the study has found that three main qualities attach people to place: social offerings, such as entertainment venues and places to meet, openness (how welcoming a place is) and the area’s aesthetics (its physical beauty and green spaces).

Soul of the Community Overview Video

September 30, 2009

The top three things that make people love where they live

Matt Thompson is Knight Foundation's Interim Online Community Manager. He edits the Soul of the Community blog.

Image courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr.

Over the past two years, we've asked almost 28,000 people from all over the U.S. how they feel about their communities. Are they satisfied with where they live? Would they recommend it to others? Is it perfect for folks like them? Are they proud to live there?

September 29, 2009

What keeps us here: Gallup study identifies Lexington's allure -

From Business Lexington:

LEXINGTON, KY - There is nothing like the validation of consensus, gathered scientifically, to reassure community leaders that they have been on the right track as they have invested uncountable hours, immeasurable brainpower and draining energies to the task of placing Lexington on course for competitive 21st century economic development.

September 29, 2009

Detroiters’ emotional attachment increases, despite economy -

From Crain's Detroit Business:

A Gallup study released today found that residents’ emotional attachment to the Detroit area has actually increased slightly in 2009, in spite of the economy.

The Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is funding a three-year “Soul of the Community” study in Detroit and 25 other areas where its founders owned newspapers.

September 29, 2009

Metro Detroit may not be perfect, but more of us like where we live -

From the Detroit Free Press:

Michigan's economy may have continued to tank the past 12 months, but metro Detroiters feel better about the region and more optimistic about the future than they did a year ago.

About 1,500 metro Detroiters interviewed by the Gallup polling organization as part of the second year of a three-year quality of life study gave the area improved marks for a variety of issues that drive resident attachment to a place, which is considered one indicator of economic growth.

September 29, 2009

Study reveals soul of Bradenton area community -

From 7:

MANATEE COUNTY - A new study reveals Suncoast residents rank the area's physical beauty and social offerings as some of the top reasons they're attached to the community.

"Soul of the Community" is a three-year study that explores what qualities influence people's loyalty and passion for where they live.

September 29, 2009

Charlotte has much to laud, and work on -

From the Charlotte Observer:

First, the good news. A new Gallup/Knight Foundation poll shows Charlotte area residents proud to live here and ready to recommend it to others. It shows residents enraptured by the area's beauty and openness to newcomers.

Still, trouble is evident: Most polled were pessimistic - 53 percent - about the area's outlook for the future. The bleak economy figures into that. Seventy-six percent said the economy is bad, and 68 percent said it is getting worse.

September 29, 2009

Poll finds newcomers like it best in NW Indiana -

From the Post-Tribune:

Northwest Indiana's newest residents are among its happiest, says a poll of region dwellers released Tuesday.

A survey of 400 people in Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties found region residents are among the least "attached" to their community among 26 metropolitan areas in the "Soul of the Community" study commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. But survey respondents who have lived in the region six years or fewer had a better opinion of Northwest Indiana, noted Knight Foundation consultant Katherine Loflin.

September 29, 2009

Community praised, panned in survey -

From the Journal Gazette:

A bleak local economy topped Fort Wayne residents’ list of concerns this year, but unhappiness over high unemployment hasn’t necessarily translated to unhappiness with the community, a survey released Tuesday said.

More than 400 area dwellers surveyed this spring by Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation found plenty to love about the community and a little to dislike – including how the community treats recent college graduates.

September 29, 2009

Report: Macon residents not engaged with their community -

From the Macon Telegraph:

CHICAGO — People like where they live for any number of reasons, but there are several stand-out qualities that ignite residents’ passion for their communities — and how the area is dealing with the recession isn’t one of them, according to a report released Tuesday by Gallup and the Knight Foundation.

Residents are most attached to their communities when they have fun places to gather, there’s a welcoming atmosphere and there are beautiful and green spaces to enjoy, according to the “Soul of the Community” survey. The study looked at 26 communities, including Macon, and surveyed a random sample of more than 10,000 people earlier this year.

September 29, 2009

How residents feel about Columbia area -

From The State:

What attaches Columbia-area residents to the community?

Apparently, it’s colleges, parks, affordable housing, quality health care, night life and openness of its people, according to a Gallup study released Tuesday.

But the region needs to improve perceptions of how it treats recent college grads and gays, according to the study funded by the Knight Foundation.

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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