Placemaking, was defined by PPS as both an overarching idea and a hands-on tool for improving a neighborhood, city or region. The linked to site went on to say of Placemaking:
Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover their needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place.The New Community Paradigm Places wikipage which will serve as a depository for community resources on Place was also introduced. Community Places, was examined in the last post. This post will deal with what has been described as the Soul of a Community.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup joined forces and following an approach similar to PPS studied cities across the country to determine what attaches people to their communities by launching the Knight Soul of the Community project in 2008. Three years and close to 43,000 interviews later with people in 26 communities, the study found three main qualities responsible for attaching people to place:
- Social offerings, such as entertainment venues and places to meet,
- Openness (how welcoming a place is) and
- Area’s aesthetics (its physical beauty and green spaces)
What is even more interesting is that these three aspects which provide for Residential or Community Attachment also have a strong correlation with economic prosperity. By studying the 26 individual cities that participated in the study, it is possible to determine what steps can be taken to replicate the same results. The study showed both good and opportunities for improvement in each city. Each city had a its own story to tell. The stories were of place and, more importantly, the stories were of people and how they interacted with the place they called their community.
Despite its high ratings of resident caring, social offerings remains a challenge area for Aberdeen, specifically in the areas of local night life and arts and cultural events. This must be addressed as these areas are particularly important to young people. Over the past three years of the study, Aberdeen has made significant gains in attaching young people 18-34 years old to the community. Imagine what could be possible with more attention to these aspects of social offerings.
The comments I had read in the article announcing the presentation flooded my mind as I stood facing what seemed to be a completely different crowd that night. And I worried about deflating that crowd with my honest response. But I said, “It seems to me that some of you, and I’m not sure if you’re in this room, but some of you are stuck in place.”
This effort' to create new community paradigms began by looking at economic development in working to create Liveable Cities through Liveanomics. The relationship of community attachment to economic development in the Soul of the Community Study provides particular relevance for this effort by going beyond the recent economic crisis as the study's findings can help leaders include new ideas into the existing economic rebuilding and development conversation.
Ratings of the local economy increased in 2010; however, the economy is still not a key factor emotionally connecting residents to their communities. Perception of local leadership is rated lower in 2010, but it is not a key driver in attaching residents to Long Beach.To increase its community wealth, Long Beach added to its own natural assets of good weather and relaxed Southern California attitude by investing in high-quality bicycle infrastructure and encouraging bike-related businesses.