Gallup has published an interesting poll about the qualities that people value in communities. They conducted a poll to find out what made people feel attached to their communities. The top three on the list are:
Social offerings are the top driver of attachment in 2010. . . . This includes the availability of arts and cultural opportunities, availability of social community events, the community’s nightlife, whether the community is a good place to meet people, and whether people in the community care about each other.
A community’s openness is the second most important factor to residents. This is regarding whether residents view their communities as good places for different groups, including older people, families with children, young adults without children, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and young, talented college graduates looking for work.
A community’s aesthetics — in terms of its overall physical beauty and the availability of parks, playgrounds, and trails — is the third most powerful driver of community attachment.
This is relevant to environmental law, I think, because one of our challenges is finding ways to build sustainable communities — and at least in a free society, they have to be communities that people actually want to live in. The study has some useful clues about what that requires.