The Sweet Spot of Public Life: Public Capital - the conditions for change

Working in the The Sweet Spot of Public Life requires a focus on Public Capital -the conditions for change that enable communities to move forward. These are the factors that shape the ability and capacity of a community to work together and create change.

An Abundance of Social Gatherings - that enable people to learn about what is happening in the community and begin to develop a sense of mutual trust.

Organized Spaces for Interaction - where people can come together to learn about, discuss, and often act on community challenges. These spaces help a community begin to identify and tap resources to address concerns.

Boundary-Spanning Organizations - that help engage people in public life, spur discussion on community challenges and marshal a community’s resources to move ahead. These organizations help lay the foundation for community action, but do not act as the driving force.

Safe Havens for Decision Makers - where a community’s leaders can deliberate and work through community concerns in “unofficial,” candid discussions.

Strong, Diverse Leadership - that extends to all layers of a community, understands the concerns of the community as a whole and serves as a connector among individuals and organizations throughout the community.

Informal Networks and Links - that connect various individuals, groups, organizations and institutions together to create a cross-fertilization effect of experiences, knowledge and resources. People carry and spread ideas, messages and community norms from place to place.

Conscious Community Discussion - where a community has ample opportunity to think about and sort through its public concerns before taking action. People play an active role in helping decide how the community should act.

Community Norms for Public Life - that help guide how people act individually, interact and work together. These norms set the standards and tone for civic engagement.

A Shared Purpose for the Community - that sends an explicit message about the community’s aspirations and helps reinforce that everyone is headed toward a common goal.