What Is the Role of Community Spaces and Services?
Another essential aspect of community that affects individual wellbeing is the infrastructure—the physical spaces and services that meet the community’s needs. Below are some of the main aspects of infrastructure that can help support your individual wellbeing in a wide variety of ways, from meeting basic human needs, to helping develop social capital, to making healthy choices easier.
Infrastructure can have large impact on the development of social networks and the subsequent values of community participation and civic engagement. For example, common spaces where members of a community can interact (libraries, community centers) can help build and sustain social networks.
Infrastructure can also remove barriers to healthy behaviors. For example, people will walk more in a community where it feels safe to do so—whether that means sidewalks on busy streets, better lighting, or a neighborhood watch program. They will also find walking more appealing if there are attractive green spaces.
Here are some elements of infrastructure that can support wellbeing.
- Adequate housing opportunities at all income levels
- Affordable and accessible mass transit
- Well-planned and maintained roads and highway grids
- Bike and pedestrian pathways
- Safe and effective K-12 schools
- Multiple opportunities for secondary education
- Adult education and training
Parks, Recreation and the Arts
- Accessible and well-kept parks and green spaces
- Community centers
- Access to culture and the arts
Public Safety and Emergency Services
- Efficient and trustworthy law enforcement
- Adequate emergency services
Healthcare and Human Services
- Healthcare options for all
- Child and family services
- Disability and senior services
- Mail, landline and mobile phones
Government and Legal
- Honest and responsive political system
- Effective court and legal system