Sponsored by: Central Carolina Community Foundation
Living in a community you love is just as important as loving the home where you live. So, what makes a community desirable? Outstanding schools, affordable healthcare and safe streets are a plus, but what makes people want to put down roots and establish a life in a particular area?
The 2010 Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community Study interviewed over 14,000 adults in 26 communities across the U.S. to determine the emotional factors that attach residents to their communities and the role of community attachment on an area’s economic growth and well being.
Here are the 3 most important elements for a strong, attractive community according to the study.
1. An Inclusive Atmosphere
People don’t just want to live in a community; they want to feel like an equal part of it. A community’s ability to welcome different types of people, including senior citizens, minorities, college students and those with young children was noted as critically important for making residents feel valued where they live.
A community can become more welcoming through activities and programs such as platforms for sharing concerns and improvement initiatives, exhibits that celebrate various cultures and handicap accessible sidewalks and playgrounds.
2. A healthy social environment
The study also found that residents value an infrastructure with opportunities for social interaction and citizen sharing.
They listed social offerings such as vibrant nightlife, the availability of events and cultural opportunities, good places to meet people and residents caring for one another, as must-haves in their desired community. Since no two residents will be looking for the same things out of their community, it’s important that an area boasts enough social options to keep things interesting.
3. A physically beautiful space
The third desirable factor was aesthetics – the beauty of the community including the availability of parks and green spaces. This refers to the combined effects of factors including architectural and landscape designs, views and vistas, and the arrangement of elements like furniture in public spaces.
When people use community spaces and facilities, they feel that they’re part of a community and develop a sense of place. These aspects are important in promoting well-being, as they can form part of an individual’s identity, increase an individual’s perceived quality of life and motivate people to be more active in the community.
Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands’ expert on philanthropy, supports all three of these focus areas through their Connected Communities grants. Working to make the Midlands more connected, vibrant, compassionate and engaged, the grants aim to motivate organizations to invest in the Midlands community and build on the area’s existing assets. Since 2015, the foundation has awarded over $600,000 to 16 worthy projects promoting a connected community.
To learn more about these projects or find out if your project is eligible for funding, visit YourFoundation.org/ConnectedCommunities or call 803.254.5601.