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How Public Amenities Can Drive Citizen Satisfaction

Public amenities are more than the services and spaces provided. People who frequent nearby libraries, parks, cafes and restaurants benefit from the sense of connection they feel with other people within these community pillars.

A recent study by AEI revealed the social benefits of living near community-oriented public and commercial spaces as:

  • Increased trust
  • Decreased loneliness
  • Stronger sense of attachment to where people live

One Way to Increase Confidence in Your Local Government

Beyond the benefits stated above, the study found that access to public amenities was associated with increased confidence in local governments. Americans who lived close to public amenities were two times more likely to trust local government. Even in times of divisive politics at the state and national level, residents felt confident in the local government when they lived in amenity-dense communities.

You can assist in this effort by investing in economic development that supports local diners, pubs and coffee shops where residents can connect. Funding municipal services, such as libraries, public parks, gardens and splash pads, can also assist in increasing citizen satisfaction. Public amenities provide jobs for residents, where they can interact with their neighbours, participate in fulfilling work, and help drive the economy.

Combat Social Isolation with Public Amenities

The AEI study found that Americans were twice as likely to speak to their neighbours if they lived in communities with many public amenities. Less than 33% of Americans reported any feelings of isolation when they lived in amenity-dense neighbourhoods. Conversely, 55% of Americans reported a high degree of social isolation in low-amenity suburbs.

A Canadian study in the community of Marpole (within the city of Vancouver) showed that public amenities were essential to support residents’ basic needs. Public amenities were deemed a requirement for the social well-being of residents in that they provided interactions and opportunities to connect with other residents.

How to Build Public Amenities into Your Community

The first step to embarking on improving the public amenities in your community is to collect data and find out where residents are currently quite satisfied, and other areas that could use more spaces for residents to connect. You could conduct a survey using your own resources or you could use a platform such as Citizen Satisfaction IQTM that gathers representative, real-time data on your citizens’ satisfaction with municipal services.

The second step is to determine whether your residents would be willing to pay for these additional public amenities through their taxes. A key component of harnessing public opinion is getting down to whether they are willing to fund the additional public spaces, which can be done by using a tool like our Tax Sensitivity CalculatorTM.

Lastly, you could conduct a business retention and expansion study to ensure that the cafes, restaurants and pubs in your community stay in business. By using in-house economic development resources or a platform such as our Triage BR+ETM, you can get a feel for which businesses need your help the most. Improving business retention will keep public amenities in the community supporting the social well-being of your residents.

Learn How to Collect Real-Time Data from Your Citizens

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References:

https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/2013-03_MarpoleOpenHouse_PublicBenefits_Board_21-23.pdf

https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/05/having-library-or-cafe-down-block-could-change-your-life/589813

http://www.aei.org/publication/the-importance-of-place-neighborhood-amenities-as-a-source-of-social-connection-and-trust/

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