Silicon Valley Notebook


To what extent are supportive Community Environments and Citizen Actions needed to strengthen community attachment? The answers were explored among three distinctive communities across America (Thriving, Struggling, and Suffering) using a mixed methods design; analyses of secondary survey data from the 2010 Soul of The Community Survey were supplemented with qualitative insights from four community development professionals as well content analysis of select community development and affluent neighborhood initiatives. As predicted using Solari’s Affluent Neighborhood Persistence Model, members of thriving communities were more likely to take ownership when there was a supportive social environment. But, citizen action, particularly through political activism, was most useful for community development mainly in suffering communities, partially supporting Powell and DiMaggio’s New Institutionalism. These findings, corroborated with the narrative commentaries, contributed to the literature in the Sociology of communities as well community development and highlighted the need for tailoring tools for communities of different levels of affluence. Future research is warranted to identify and prioritize community initiatives around social fabric and political activism in community development practice.