Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation launched the Knight Soul of the Community project in 2008 with this question in mind. Community has many different meanings and in this research community means ‘place to live’. After interviewing close to 43,000 people in 26 communities over three years, the study has found that three main qualities attach people to place:
- social offerings, such as entertainment venues and places to meet,
- openness (how welcoming a place is) and
- the area’s aesthetics (its physical beauty and green spaces).
These qualities only partly fit the often globally spread communities we are dealing with. I started to think about what the Soul for these online communities would be. After giving it some thought I came to these three unique properties for the Soul of a Community:
- social engagement (communication channels and events)
- openness (how welcoming is the community)
- purpose (what value does the project deliver)
What do you think?