The Key Characteristics of Thriving Communities
Thriving is perhaps the most common word people use to describe the ideal state of a community.
Like the word ‘empowerment’, people use ‘thriving’ so often in varying contexts that it has become difficult to pin down what it really means.
Perhaps, much like our sense of community, the definition of the word is purely subjective. It can be measurable quantitatively, through tangent things such as housing availability, walkability, accessibility of social services, and employment opportunities, but more importantly, through intangible, holistic qualities, such as the following:
Life is worthwhile
Taking a cue from nature, the pattern of life in a thriving community must be sustainable enough that everyone has a role to play and knows their place. Each has a purpose, big or small, that helps balance out the community and maintains a viable and worthwhile pattern of life.
It usually manifests in the way people live and treat each other, and how they view themselves in accordance with where they live. Life is also deeply rooted in the place, and the sense of shared ownership is what fuels mutual respect between most, if not all, members of the community.
Members have a shared purpose
Members of a thriving community have a shared purpose that strengthens the bond between them. United by customs and traditions, they would go the extra mile to imagine, realise and fulfil a better future for all. People don’t hesitate to take collective action against anything that threatens their beliefs.
There is enough room to pursue individual aspirations and fulfil a civic role. This common purpose is not only bound to the place, but to the human connections that have been established for many generations.
Encourages a culture of healthy competition
Shared ownership, however, does mean that there is no room for competition. In a thriving community, there should be a culture of healthy competition. For instance, there should be a healthy competition between small locally-owned businesses and national or multi-national enterprises.
Rapid Loans notes that friendly rivalries between organisations encourages success and innovation and provides more tailored options for consumers, while competition between individuals encourage everyone to strive for something better. A thriving community can foster competitiveness without sacrificing morale.
There are many other things that constitute the thrivability of a place or community. But, essentially, a thriving community should foster positive social values and encourage initiatives that aim to generate holistic impact on the locale and beyond.