Why Community Matters

Communities in Ottawa

In the age of technology, our community sometimes gets less attention than our Facebook friends, but research shows that community is a vital component of our health and happiness. So what exactly is community and why is it so important?

What is community?

The Oxford Dictionary defines community as a group of people living together or unified by common interests and experiences. Our neighbourhood encompasses every aspect of this definition; not only do we live in close proximity to our neighbours, but we are also impacted by many of the same things, from weather to current events, and care about similar issues, such as keeping the local park clean.

Why is community important?

Frances Moore Lappé, an author and environmentalist, says that community “isn’t a luxury, a nice thing; community is essential to our well-being.” The research supports this outlook; in his book “Social Intelligence: The Science of Human Relationships,” Dr. Daniel Goleman states that we are “wired to connect” with the people around us. He cites the research of Sheldon Cohen, a psychologist whose study concluded that social interaction helps protect us from illness and boosts our good moods. Participating in our community through volunteer work or acts of kindness can make us physically and emotionally healthier.

What characterizes the Ottawa community?

While there is no doubt that community is good for us, busy schedules and increasingly fast-paced lifestyles make it easy to become isolated. Fortunately, Ottawa is full of opportunities to leave the house, meet our neighbours and explore our surroundings. Ottawa has a vibrant and welcoming community, with plenty of museums, festivals and greenspace. The city has been named one of the cleanest in the world and safest in Canada, with a relatively young, multilingual and educated population. Ottawa even placed second in a ranking of how Canadian cities appeal to families, due to its low crime rate, convenient transportation, high quality schools and abundance of activities.

We hope you are inspired to make the most of Ottawa and participate in your community, in whichever way suits you best. Why do you think community is important? Share with us in the comments!