Articles » What Makes a Community Worth Living In?

A funny thing is happening in America today. More and more people are doing what is called "cocooning," withdrawing into their homes for their social entertainment. At the same time, they are also noticing a loss of community, the need humans feel for a sense of belonging and participation with other people like themselves. Part of this is the result of the inevitable alienation of suburbanization - the fact that people live in lower densities, and must get in a car to drive to all their activities. But part of it is about the quality of the communities themselves. So much of suburbia feels like a hodgepodge collection of cookie cutter houses, strewn about the landscape without regard for how the neighborhood fits together as a whole.

Some communities, however, are different. You notice a distinction as soon as you enter the area. The houses have more attention to detail and aesthetics. They are placed carefully on their sites, and relate better to surrounding homes. They use quality landscaping to add color and texture, and bring the neighborhood closer to nature. While there is an interesting variety of home styles and finishes, all the homes seem to belong together, using compatible colors and materials. They use open space creatively to provide community areas where people can interact.

In choosing a community in which to live, ask yourself these questions: Does it fit my lifestyle? That includes things like the luxury and comfort the homes provide, or low-maintenance living for people who want more leisure time. It includes a sense of peace of mind and security. Does it improve my quality of life? This includes things like proximity to work, quality education, and entertainment and leisure activities. Would I be proud to live in this community? Sometimes the things that make an award-winning community in which you want to live are hard to define - things like pride of place, the feeling you get when you walk down the street and wave hello to your neighbors. While the homes have all the comforts that make cocooning enjoyable, in the right kind of community, you might not feel the need to cocoon as much.