Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Discovering what ties people to where they live

Sept. 30, 2009, 1:51 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

This week, Knight Foundation and Gallup announced the second year of results from the Soul of the Community study - a three-year survey of almost 28,000 residents of the 26 Knight communities exploring what attaches people to where they live.

Two years of research have reinforced the finding that the top three community characteristics that connect to the passion and loyalty residents feel for a place are openness (how welcoming a place is), social offerings (fun places to gather) and aesthetics (an area's physical beauty and green spaces). These qualities rose to the top in both years of the study, despite its occurrence against the backdrop of the U.S. financial crisis.

The study also found that community attachment is tied to local GDP growth - communities with higher attachment saw the largest growth in their economies. In the third year of the study, researchers will explore this connection further.

At the Soul of the Community site, you can dig into the findings from the study - compare results from all 26 communities on an interactive map, add your thoughts and insights to the perspectives posted on our blog, view detailed reports from all the communities, read coverage from news outlets like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and even download the actual data, if you'd like.