Place Matters

I attended a presentation yesterday on some very interesting research coming out of the U.S. about the importance of place.

Their research involved several cities across the U.S. and considered the question – does place still matters in a increasingly virtual world?

The answer was a big “yes”.

They went further to ask what attaches people to place and why is that attachment important. The researchers identified several key measures of community attachment – that is to say the people they spoke to:

  • had pride in their community
  • felt their community was a perfect place
  • had a positive outlook
  • felt satisfaction
  • would recommend their community to others

They also identified the drivers of attachment:

  • Openness 
  • Social capital 
  • Civic involvement 
  • Community offerings (education, safety, social offerings, aesthetics and economy)

The three drivers that kept coming to the top were: 

  • Openness – how welcoming a community is to all people
  • Social offering – how the city is designed to provide for positive social interaction in the community and the civility of people using these spaces (the skating rink in Market Square is a brilliant example)
  • Aesthetics – the natural and created beauty of the place

There are lots of lessons for cities which I will explore more in future postings. However, there was one big one which is also the answer to those who might be asking – so what?

The level of attachment in a community is directly linked to the health and resilience of the local economy.

More about the work of Katherine Loflin can be found by clicking here

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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

View all posts by Karen Farbridge

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