Share this

What Attaches People to Their Communities?

What makes a community a desirable place to live? What draws people to stake their future in it? Are communities with more attached residents better off?

Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation launched the Knight Soul of the Community project in 2008 with these questions in mind. 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).

Soul of the Community Overview Video

April 04, 2012

The Distinctive City (via UrbanLand)

by Edward T. McMahon, April 4, 2012

Around the world, cities are seeking the recipe for economic success in a rapidly changing global marketplace. Indispensable assets in a post–industrial economy include: well–educated people, the ability to generate new ideas and to turn those ideas into commercial realities, connectivity to global markets, and multi-modal transportation infrastructure. Another critical—but often forgotten—asset is community distinctiveness.

April 03, 2012

Paula Ellis interviewed by The Community Foundation on Boulder radio

The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County discussed community attachment one of the key principles of Knight's Soul of the Community research on "A Public Affair" this month. Morgan Rogers and Max Tappet of the foundation interviewed Paula Ellis, VP for Strategic Initiatives, at KGNU Community Radio.

December 08, 2011

Soul of the Community study spurs resident-driven agenda for Arizona

Photo Credit: Flickr user Chris M

Recently, the Center for the Future of Arizona announced the winners of a contest that sought five big ideas for bringing Arizonans together and taking action on issues they feel strongly about.

Knight-funded Soul of the Community study

Inspired by the Soul findings, the center designed a similar Gallup poll for Arizona that looked at residents’ views on community life and what they want for their state’s future. 

November 30, 2011

“Place Matters” cited among the best venue to tell the story of community engagement and placemaking


“Place Matters,” a weekly radio program, is being featured in The Atlantic as among one of the “best venues to tell the story” of placemaking and community engagement.

Charles Wolfe

Soul of the Community

Dr. Katherine LoflinSoul of the Community projectMy Urbanist

“Through the show, I wanted to raise the placemaking conversation, reflect that conversation back to the field and provide a platform to show the wide range of sectors coming to the same conclusions about the importance of place. I think I am off to a good start, but there is more to do and many more stories, ideas, research findings, and thought leaders to showcase in order to move the field forward.”

November 21, 2011

Is Loving Where You Live the Key to a Successful Community?

By Erin Rowley | Cross-posted from

There are a lot of things to love about Centre County, Pa. Beautiful natural features. Ample opportunities to socialize. An open and accepting attitude among residents.

And according to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, qualities like that create a sense of attachment that inspire Centre County residents.

November 14, 2011

How arts can anchor people to place

Stockholm Subway Image via Wacky Owl

This post, written by Knight Foundation Arts Program Associate, Tatiana Hernandez, was originally published on the Americans for the Arts' Blog.

The Animating Democracy blog salon on ARTSblog.orgBridge Conversations, People Who Live and Work in Multiple Worlds

November 08, 2011

Ellis: Libraries are respected brands that can help create strong, resilient communities

Gia Arbogast, branch administrator for the Miami-Dade Public Library System describes how YOUMedia Miami will engage teens in building digital literacy skills

Libraries have a fundamental role in how attached people are to where they live, Knight’s Paula Ellis, vp/strategic initiatives, told a gathering of library and civic leaders last week.

October 06, 2011

'Place Matters' program a fresh venue to discuss community engagement; tune in this morning

Video: Dr. Katherine Loflin worked with leaders from community foundations to find place making opportunities in the results of Knight's Soul of the Community research. Now her radio program will explore similar themes.  


The Knight Soul of the Community project is a groundbreaking study that explores what makes people love where they live, and why it matters. Using primary survey research gathered in 26 U.S. communities by Gallup for Knight from 2008 to 2010, Lead Consultant Dr. Katherine Loflin helped identify a strong correlation between how citizens feel about their local community and economic output of that community.

September 22, 2011

Knight Foundation heads to the 66th Annual Conference on Citizenship to discuss civic health and Soul of the Community


This afternoon Knight Foundation will help lead a discussion on measuring civic health at the 66th Annual National Conference on Citizenship, an annual event that explores the revised roles of citizens, nonprofits, and governments in a 21st century democracy. The theme for this year’s conference is “Redefining America’s Social Compact.”

Discover the soul of your community

Great schools, affordable health care and safe streets all help create strong communities. But is there something deeper that draws people to a city – that makes them want to put down roots and build a life?

TRUSTe online privacy certification
TRUSTe online privacy certification

Please see our Privacy Policy Here