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Public Places and Commercial Spaces: How Neighborhood Amenities Foster Trust and Connection in American Communities

Survey Center on American Life

October 20, 2021

Key Points

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many Americans’ living preferences toward less dense places. For instance, more Americans would prefer to live in small towns and rural areas than cities.
  • White and rural Americans are more positive than Black, Hispanic, Asian, and urban Americans are about the current state of their communities but less optimistic about the future of their communities.
  • Living close to a variety of amenities, such as cafes and parks, increases neighborliness, feelings of safety, social trust, and positive feelings about the community.
  • The majority (56 percent) of Americans have a local spot they regularly visit, though fewer have one today than did before the pandemic (67 percent). Among Americans who have a regular community spot, most (63 percent) say they recognize other people from their communities there.
  • When it comes to police funding and presence in the neighborhood, the majority (62 percent) of Americans oppose cutting funding to local police, and most (70 percent) support increasing police presence in their neighborhoods.

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About the Author

Daniel A. Cox