Wednesday, November 17, 2010

communities thrive on residents affection

Knight Soul of the Community 2010 - National from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

LiveScience | If you sometimes stop and wonder why you donate to your local school’s annual fundraiser, help plant trees on your town’s main drag or offer free hot cocoa at every street fair, the answer is because you're either very generous or you know what's good for your local economy.

New research suggests when people “love” the culture of their towns, economic prosperity follows. In a three-year Gallup survey of 26 U.S. cities, researchers learned the communities with highest levels of resident attachment — a person's passion for where he or she lives — also had the highest rates of GDP growth over time.

The findings "point to a new perspective that we encourage leaders to consider," said Paula Ellis of the Knight Foundation, which funded the poll. "It is especially valuable as we aim to strengthen our communities during this tough economic time.”

The "Knight Soul of the Community" survey explored the connection between local economic growth and residents’ emotional bond to a place. Results clearly show a significant, positive link between resident attachment and local GDP growth, conclude researchers and Ellis, the foundation's vice president for strategic initiatives.

Three qualities surfaced as the leading drivers for attachment to a home city: its social offerings, openness and beauty. Those qualities were cited by survey respondents more often than other possible influences and demographic characteristics such as people’s perceptions of their local economy, leadership and safety. Fist tap Nana.