What makes a great community
Great communities don’t happen by accident; they’re part good design, part access to services and largely attributed to the people who reside within them. It’s often hard to put a finger in why exactly they work, but here are the top five reasons some communities truly shine…
Contrary to the modern trend where people spend less time communicating face-to-face and more time interacting via technology, an interpersonal connection within communities is one of the top reasons people like where they live.
In their 21-year-old study “Sense of Community” which researchers still cite today, David McMillan and David Chavis describe this as “membership”; the feeling that one has invested part of oneself to become a member and therefore has a right to belong.
These are also communities where people have a voice; a right to speak on issues that matter to them and the knowledge this viewpoint is respected and heard. Whether it’s signing a petition, having a representative on a committee or voting on an issue, it’s the perception community members have an influence in the issues that affect them.
Fulfillment of needs
At its basic, a good community will fulfill the needs of its residents. These may be core issues like safety, security and comfort but also extend to adequate parking, amenities like pools or tennis courts, and proximity to work, shops and transport.
Scholars also argue meeting these needs includes catering to the requirements of the “whole person” in all their roles, such as social interaction, recreation, goods, and services.
Shared emotional connections
Most communities share a sense of identity, a group history and shared ideal about who they are, where they’ve come from and how they fit into society as a whole. This, scholars note, isn’t about race or ethnicity but the quality of interactions within a community.
In the more recent “Soul of the Community project” undertaken in 2010 by the Knight Foundation and Gallup, researchers found social offerings topped the list of factors that attached people to their community.
The elements of openness and aesthetics followed swiftly behind, but the overwhelming sentiment of the 26 American communities surveyed was that it was people and activities that made a place enjoyable to live in.
What it all means
The bottom line is it’s people, not necessarily place or space, that make a community work, although these factors do play an important role. This means, now more than ever in a fractured world dominated by technology, interpersonal connections and a sense of belonging matter.
Or in the words of English poet John Donne “No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main”.
A great community has an identity, a shared ideal, group activities and communication where residents can raise their voice on issues that matter to them. It’s how planners, administrators and leaders facilitate this community, that presents challenges but equally real and innovative opportunities.
Our aim is to foster a sense of community in strata environments. We do this through our cloud based software that allows residents to interact, post social events, enjoy shared spaces and have ready access to information.
To learn more about our services for strata communities, see here.