Building better communities are essential for creating a better world. It is also essential for creating sustainable and resilient cities, towns, and villages. But what does it mean to build better communities? And, more importantly, how do we do it?
Community is about creating places where people want to live, work, and play. It is about making our cities, towns, and villages more human-scale, walkable and accessible. It is about ensuring everyone has access to good quality housing, education, work, and support. Here are just some essentials of building better communities:
Access to affordable housing
Affordable housing is one of the most important building blocks of building better communities. It is both the first step in preventing homelessness and an essential part of addressing the affordability crisis plaguing our cities. Access to affordable housing means that people can afford to pay their rent, mortgage, or loan payments while still having enough money left over for food, utilities, and other necessities.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines affordable housing as being within reach for people with incomes at or below 80% of the area median income. The median income in the U.S. is about $60,000 per year for a family of four. In most cities, the median income is much higher than that, so affordable housing can be out of reach for many families and individuals.
For example, if your household earns $30,000 annually, you would need to spend no more than about $600 on rent each month (including utilities). Private and government entities are constantly working on providing a solution to the affordable housing crisis in many cities.
An important part of making a city or country great is providing its people with a high-quality education. This can include preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. Many cities are working to provide their residents with better access to education by building more schools and improving the quality of existing ones.
Access to better education also helps communities become more economically stable, which leads to a more robust infrastructure and higher employment rates. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of education make more money and are healthier, which leads to lower crime rates and better overall quality of life.
Creating spaces for people to come together
Creating spaces for community members to get together and share ideas is an integral part of community development. In cities, these spaces can include libraries, museums, or parks where people can spend time with one another and build relationships that strengthen the bonds between them.
These spaces can also cater to different religious, creative, and cultural interests. Communities that provide opportunities for their members to join different religious interests, such as a women’s fellowship, bible study group, or other groups that share their values, are stronger and more resilient than those that don’t.
These spaces don’t have to be physical. In some cases, they can simply be a hashtag or an online forum where people can share their experiences and connect with one another. As the world becomes increasingly connected, it is important for communities to find ways of connecting with one another that allows them to maintain their unique identities while still providing opportunities for growth and development.
Promote access to new opportunities
When community members are isolated, it can be difficult for them to find new opportunities. When people are able to connect with one another and share their experiences, they begin to see the potential of what could be. This can lead to increased interest in education, job training, and other initiatives that allow people from different backgrounds to build a better future for themselves and their families.
Communities are increasingly offering a range of programs that provide members with new skills, such as computer programming, financial literacy, and leadership training. These types of programs allow people to gain new skills that can help them achieve their goals and positively impact their communities. These programs are also helpful for people who want to transition from the military or prison back into civilian life and those looking for a new career. By giving people access to the resources they need to improve their lives, they can become more self-sufficient and productive members of society.
Building better communities are not only up to the government and other institutions. It also depends on the people in those communities, and their willingness to help one another makes them better places to live. By being active participants in their communities, people can work together to solve problems and make a difference.
While private and government programs help improve communities, community building starts at an individual level. People need to take responsibility for their actions and understand that by working together, they can build stronger communities and help improve the lives of those around them.