Why people love where they live and why it matters: a national perspective.
Knight Soul of the Community (SOTC) is a three-year study conducted by Gallup of the 26 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation communities across the United States employing a fresh approach to determine the factors that attach residents to their communities and the role of community attachment in an area's economic growth and well-being. The study focuses on the emotional side of the connection between residents and their communities, and how attachment to place leads to prosperous communities.
"The surveyed communities’ social offerings, openness, aesthetics, and education are, in that order, most likely to influence residents’ attachment to their communities in 2010."
"Precisely how community attachment affects community outcomes is at best a scientific guess at this point. However, the data make clear that highly attached residents are more likely to want to stay in their current communities. When this is true for college graduates and other productive residents, it increases the number of talented, highly educated workers striving to positively affect economic growth."
"Highly attached residents are also more likely to see their communities as being open to many kinds of people, including talented, young college graduates and families with young children. Communities that are more open to diversity are better able to compete for talent.
Attachment is also higher when residents agree that their communities provide the social offerings and aesthetics they enjoy. When residents enjoy their community’s offerings, they are more likely to spend their money on local activities and businesses, directly benefiting the local economy."