Friday, November 13, 2009

Aesthetics Ranks in Top Three Reasons Why Residents Love a Community

A Gallup poll on behalf of the Knight Foundation is surveying residents of 26 metro areas of varying sizes across the US to determine what factors create the most attachment to community for residents, regardless of income, marital status or age group.

It turns out that the top three factors are:

  1. Openness
  2. Social Offerings
  3. Aesthetics

It isn’t just aesthetics that is a surprise for many people, which is defined in the report as overall beauty and physical setting including parks, open spaces, trails, etc. It helps to ask people in a scientific survey because I’ll bet that based on news reports and public discourse, many people would have guessed public safety, transportation, etc.

By "openness" the survey is referring to what in Durham we call being “accepting.” It refers to a community’s overall openness to people from other countries, cultures, religions, lifestyles even and sexual orientation.

By "social offerings" the survey is referring to a vibrant cultural and entertainment centers, e.g., districts like Ninth Street and Brightleaf as well as an active downtown area overall.

Aesthetics isn’t a surprise to me nor are openness and social offerings. In public opinion polls, Durham residents always rank beautification and clean up as high priorities, although you wouldn’t know it from the low priority it has had with elected and other government officials over the years.

So the real question is why isn’t aesthetics a higher priority when it comes to local officials? More on that in a future blog on left brainers and right brainers.

No comments: