Do You Love Your City?
Peter Kageyama, the author of For the Love of Cities and Love Where You Live, asks us a straight forward question. Do you love where you live? However, when you think outside of the four walls of your home, the real question is, do you feel connected to and in love with the community where you live?
During his 2012 TEDx Front Range talk (watch the full conversation here), Kageyama references the Soul of the Community Project; a project that was done in partnership between The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup from 2008 – 2010. They surveyed over 40,000 people in cities across the country to “discover what attaches people to the places that they live.” The survey revealed there are three primary drivers of creating an emotional bond between people and their places.
- Social Offerings – opportunities for social interaction and citizen caring
- Aesthetics – physical beauty and green spaces
- Openness – how welcoming the community is to different peopled
“If people were more attached to the community that they lived in they were more willing to engage and make it a better place” – Paula Ellis, The Knight Foundation.
Take a moment to think about your place, whether it is Albion or another community, and the top three drivers listed above. How does your place rate in each of those three areas? Do you feel that you have many opportunities for social interactions? Do you often visit green spaces or beautiful places in your community? When someone new moves to your neighborhood, does everyone come out to meet each other? These are ways we can feel the love in and for our places or as Kageyama says, these are our “love notes.”
It is easy to share what we dislike about our place, but those are often significant problems that take time and resources to fix, like the roads. And, no one ever says I love my community for the way they filled the potholes. However, feeling the love in and for our community can be small and straightforward. Here are just a few examples that Kageyama shares:
- A place to sit outside and people watch
- Public art to enjoy and maybe event interact with
- Weekend morning strolls through downtown or your local market
- Community traditions
- Those individuals who exude love for their place
These are just a few examples of ways that you may give, show, and feel love for your place. What if we all took the time to love our place one new way each week for the rest of the year? Imagine the change!
Feeling the love is in our best interest as individuals and as a community. Kageyama shares in his talk that “places with high levels of emotional engagement, passion and loyalty also had higher levels of local economic vitality.” Love certainly won’t solve everything but if we cannot love our own place, how can we ever expect that others will fall in love with our place.
We challenge YOU to get out there, show some love, and find new ways that you can love this place and then we want to hear about it! Post a photo or share a comment below about how you are loving our city! #LoveAlbion