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A Thousand Little Things

“The love affair between people and their places is one of the strongest bonds that can exist,” writes Peter Kageyama, in his book For the Love of Cities. Here are three reasons why we all want a community that feels like home.

  1. The love we have for our community is made up of a thousand little things.

It’s rarely just the big landmarks that cause someone to fall in love with their community. Rather, it’s a whole host of little things that form a strong bond between people and their places. It’s driving by the Saturn V rocket on 565 after being away for a while and knowing you are almost home. It’s driving over the sprawling Tennessee River as it meanders through Decatur or Guntersville or Scottsboro. It’s “Eggbeater Jesus” that you can’t wait to show out-of-town guests. It’s things like our iconic public art that makes us think . . . or smile . . . or feel. It’s the places and the symbols that make our community unique and that inspire feelings of connection.

  1. People are longing for a place not only to live, but also to love.

People want more from their cities than just pothole-free streets. People want places where they can belong. Places they love . . . and that love them back. Peter Kageyama writes, “When we have an emotional connection to our place, we are less likely to leave it and far more likely to champion and defend it in the face of criticism.”

  1. Community champions come from every part of our cities.

When some people think about cities, they immediately begin thinking about city leaders, whether they are elected officials or business executives. In reality, there is another group of community champions that equally set the tone for our cities. Who are these community champions? According to Kageyama,

They are the outliers. . . . they are the ones who are truly “in love” with their community. They start things. They make thing happen. They inspire others to get in the game. They educate people. They connect people. They are tastemakers and trendsetters.

These community champions lead others from being merely consumers of a city to being co-creators of this community we love.

We are blessed to live in a community that is deeply loved. It seems like every week there is another accolade bestowed on the Greater Huntsville area that celebrates what we know to be true of our community. Others recognize that we live in a great place and want to join us here. What kind of community will they find? What role will each of us play in building this community? I know that I want to build a community that future generations will love as much as I do. Together we can build a city we love and that loves us back. Together we can build a city that feels like home.