Kaid Benfield recently presented an interesting blog in Atlantic Cities in which he outlined the seven keys to strong community which were created by his colleague Scott Doyon at Place Makers. I agree with the article as far as it went, but would also include the economic dimensions because without them the livability aspects might not be viable.
Here are what he identifies as the seven keys to stronger community:
- Good governance
- Walkable, connected, mixed-use character
- Parks and gardens
- Neighborhood-responsive schools
- Tree culture
While the list is focused on the sense of community rather than communities in general, I think that pro-active economic development is an essential ingredient. This should focus on the retention and generation of businesses and jobs that are conducive to sustaining community livability.
Integral to economic development is place branding which directly contributes to increased effectiveness and efficiency in how cities compete and present themselves. Branding enables the place to focus on their differentiating strengths to establish their competitive identity and generate the economic activity to optimize the seven keys.