Along with its burgeoning biotech and green tech initiatives, Gainesville may have another major plus when it comes to spurring growth: It’s lovable.
Author Peter Kageyama, who labeled Gainesville one of the country’s most lovable communities in his new book, For the Love of Cities, says cities that are highly regarded by residents attract a greater commitment from them. That can pay off financially and in other ways, he says.
A 2009 study by the Gallup organization backs Kagayama’s claim, finding that the growth in gross domestic product was highest in cities where residents were most attached to the community.
According to the author, Gainesville ranks high for having the most “likes” per capita on Facebook, its commitment to energy-saving LEED projects, the number of philanthropic grant-makers per capita and its bicycle-friendly roadways.
Other aspects that can make a city lovable include dog friendliness, walk-ability, the presence of local foods, community traditions and public art.
Kagayama is a community and economic development consultant. He also co-founded and continues to produce the Creative Cities Summits, a series of events that bring together planners, businesspeople, educators, artists and environmentalist to study how to improve cities.