What Is the Role of Community Spaces and Services?

park with many people picnicking and enjoying the sun

Another essential aspect of community that affects individual wellbeing is the infrastructure—the physical spaces and services that meet the community’s needs.

Infrastructure can help build social networks

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, parks, community centers) can help build and sustain social networks.

Infrastructure can provide equity

Infrastructure not only helps build social networks, which allow community members to share information and opportunities, it provides essential resources.  A community that works to ensure equal access to these resources promotes the wellbeing of individuals and the community as a whole.

Infrastructure can promote healthy behaviors

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.