Q:

What are some traits of a good community?

A:

The precise definition of a "good community" will vary from person to person, but factors such as safety, access to goods and services, a sense of belonging and a well-defined organizational structure are all considered to be key. Although virtually impossible to create an ideal community capable of satisfying the needs of all residents at all times, it should nevertheless be the goal of residents.

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Safety as an element of the "good community" is paramount. This includes safety from crime, as well as from extreme weather, pollution, excessive traffic, overcrowding and other environmental factors.

Access to goods and services is likewise of fundamental importance. Without food, water and shelter, people's most basic needs for survival are neglected.

A feeling of belonging can be established only by interaction. The building and maintaining of meaningful relationships between residents contributes to an overall sense of well-being. In fact, suicide rates are often far higher in communities that lack these interrelationships.

This sense of belonging can also come from a communal purpose. Sharing values and goals with neighbors, whether religious, political or philosophical, bind people together toward a common goal.

While an organizational structure should incorporate leadership that is accountable for the community's safety and resource needs, it should also provide each resident with a meaningful social role. Even those unable to work due to mental disabilities should feel they belong to a "good community."

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