This past Friday we heard a talk on healthy communities from Rick Smith, a professor of Social Work at WSU who teaches community development. Rick mentioned:
- Communities are often associated with a specific place (such as a Green Garage community)
- Communities can be social circles (such as the virtual community of artists formed by Red Panda, a business-in-residence who makes guitar pedals and has a world-wide digitally-connected fanbase)
- Communities can be formed around a particular interest (such as the pet lovers in Adrienne Wisok’s upcoming pet business)
- Communities are often informal, and NOT a bureaucracy.
Rick told of healthy/unhealthy communities in Boston who, while having similar demographics, had differing levels of community engagement. More eyes on the street were associated with healthier communities.
We finally spent a few minutes brainstorming ideas we all associated with healthy communities. Some of our ideas:
- Density of connections
- Physical presence
- Mixed-use space
- Enhance mobility
- Strong leadership, a core group and an active fringe group
- People in the community do what they love.