The work of changing perceptions

Communities / Article

Cross-posted from the Soul of the Community blog.

Meredith Hector, Knight’s program director in Bradenton, wrote an op-ed about the Soul of the Community study that was published in the Bradenton Herald this morning. Here’s a taste:

Soul of the Community is a study of perceptions. Unlike the latest unemployment figures, we can change what people think and how they feel. That is why we can be experiencing one of the worst economic declines in recent memory, and still have a large percentage of residents who love where they live.

The economy is bad everywhere. Folks don’t appear to be blaming their financial troubles on where they live. Instead, there are other community features that drive people’s perception that the Bradenton area is a place they enjoy and recommend to others.

Luckily for us, these features also happen to be ones we can influence.

Two key features are perceived as community strengths in Bradenton: our social offerings (fun places to gather and meet people) and our aesthetics (the region’s physical beauty and green spaces).

But a third feature, openness ‘ or how welcoming a place is perceived to be for different demographic groups ‘ merits extra attention and work.

You can read the rest at Then come back and give us your thoughts.