Category: Goal 3. Strong Community, Culture, and Recreation
Goal: Create or enhance within New Jersey communities a positive sense of local identity and individual belonging, which promotes respect among neighbors, increases everyone’s feelings of safety and security, and provides abundant cultural and recreational opportunities
Most of us would like to sustain a society where we all feel safe and at home in a community that provides opportunity for recreation and culture. New Jersey offers a wealth of cultural events, recreation opportunities, festivals, ethnic celebrations, and other opportunities to enjoy the richness and diversity of our communities. Quantifying the sense of community ownership and participation is difficult, however; readily available measures may not do full justice to this complex issue.
What indicators came out of the Sustainable State process, and how are we doing?
Per capita circulation of New Jersey newspapers is decreasing steadily.
Violent and non-violent crime rates rose in the 1970s, and have largely declined since then.
Protected open space has risen steadily since the 1960s.
What might we add to future indicator reports?
An array of other measures may give us a richer understanding of New Jerseyans’ commitment to and sense of ownership of their communities; voluntarism, home ownership rates, attendance at civic meetings, readership of local newspapers, reliance on alternate news sources, how frequently people move, even whether they know their neighbors. The share of businesses that are locally owned or their share in local employment may shed light on community sustainability. The share of people who work in the town where they live may provide insight into the strength of ties to the community; the ratio of jobs in the community to residents may shed some light on whether it is even possible for people to work where they live (or live where they work).