There is always much talk about the need and desire to build stronger communities. Most of the discussion is usually well meaning in its intent. Many of the thoughts revolve around the idea of a vibrant economy and construction. As important as those are, research suggests that there are even larger processes or concepts at work that can have an even deeper impact on the development and success of a community. Here are areas that have been identified as key characteristics that highly effective towns share in common.

Purposeful Unity. A conscious decision by a community that bottom line unity is more essential to everyones well-being than any other factor.

Embracing Diversity. Acceptance of the reality that there may be intense disagreements and clash of opinions on various policies and actions, but those disagreements will never be allowed to destroy the fiber of a community and its ability to build consensus and be supportive of final decisions and goals. Healthy debate and only constructive criticism is encouraged for progress. 

Openness and Influence. Civility and respect is powerfully expected and demanded by the community in all discussions and disagreements. Information takes priority over emotions. Leadership from all sectors works to bring all parties together for acceptance of majority decisions. There is no tolerance for personal type or inflammatory attacks being levied.

Inclusiveness and Membership. A realization that everyone is a stakeholder in the community's direction and focus. Everyone is involved at some level to monitor or nurture their investment. Community affiliations and relationships are embraced but cliques and factions are rejected.

Community building is never easy and challenges are inevitable. But the rewards and benefits of a well balanced community with a setting and mindset of greater visions and conversations are immeasurable.