The outputs of these engaged citizens will make their places authentic and distinct from every other place. And the prolific co-creators will be seen as prized community assets the way that major employers and major institutions are currently viewed. They are and will be an increasingly key part of the mix of successful communities.
A mutual love affair between people and place is a powerful influence. Cities that are engaged in relationships with their citizens, and citizens who are emotionally engaged with their cities, create new possibilities within a community. When we love a city, we are committed to it, we care for it, we give our best to it.
What makes people fall in love with their cities? Is it the people? Parks? Festivals? Perhaps, it is the simple ability to be active players in shaping the future of their home. Community development guru Peter Kageyama calls these people co-creators: citizens who breathe life into their communities by creating non-traditional partnerships and building something mutually beneficial.
It is a symbiotic process: creative, innovative, and engaged citizens are essential to producing a vibrant, lovable community. By strengthening the emotional bonds to the community, the city will be rewarded with happier and more productive citizens. In other words, people want much more than a place to live; they want a place to love.