Cultivating a sense of local community: Longitudinal population study on social, psychological, environmental, and technological factors

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Abstract

Technological environments change social interactions within local communities, potentially leading to the erosion of the sense of local community. In this study, we examined the social, psychological, environmental, and technological factors that predict a sense of local community. Employing a longitudinal approach, we analysed predictors of a sense of local community among Finnish adults aged 18–80 years (N = 1,226) at three time points (spring 2021, spring 2022, and spring 2023). Our results, based on hybrid multilevel regression models, showed that greater neighbourhood engagement and perceived residential environment pleasantness positively predicted a sense of local community over time. Neighbourhood engagement, perceived residential environment pleasantness, use of neighbourhood technology, and positive attitude towards neighbourhood technologies showed positive effects and perceived loneliness and perceived level of urbanization negative between-person effects, on a sense of local community. The results shed light on the determinants of a sense of local community and carry implications for broader community engagement efforts. Enhancing perceived residential environment pleasantness and promoting more active engagement within neighbourhoods could help increase a sense of local community. Future initiatives may also focus on utilizing neighbourhood technology as a tool to help strengthen a sense of local community.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2806
JournalJOURNAL OF COMMUNITY AND APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2024
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Sense of local community
  • longitudinal study
  • community well-being
  • neighborhood technology
  • perceived environment pleasantness

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

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