Anchor points are the neighborhood facilities and resources that serve as a central focus for community interaction and information sharing. One of the cornerstones of our approach involves assessing and improving anchor points to facilitate the development of collective efficacy and social cohesion.
Identifying Anchor Points
Anchor points can come in many different forms, such as parks, schools, libraries, local businesses, community centers, and recreational facilities. The key commonality between anchor points is that these are areas where community members can interact with one another. By facilitating positive interactions and communication between residents, anchor points provide a shared resource that fosters the development of social ties.
Assessing Anchor Points
Potential anchor points differ in terms of their ability to foster resident interaction. The safety and upkeep of anchor points impacts the level of usage by residents. Dilapidated and neglected anchor points may even undermine community functioning by fostering criminal opportunities. For this reason, it is helpful to assess the quality of anchor points when planning neighborhood interventions.
Reinvigorating Anchor Points
When an anchor point falls into disrepair or disuse, concerted efforts are needed to reestablish its use as a location for community socialization. Local organizations can be instrumental in raising funds and organizing efforts to help restore these anchor points. Beautification, repair, and clean up efforts can help make facilities more welcoming. Installing and enforcing access control measures can help improve feelings of safety. Local organizations can communicate with residents and coordinate social activities to demonstrate the improvements in anchor points.
One of the best ways to restore anchor points is by encouraging community members to volunteer with clean up and rehabilitation efforts. This can be coupled with targeted outreach efforts to areas within the community with low collective efficacy and social cohesion as a strategy to facilitate the development of social ties. Ultimately, efforts that rely on neighborhood residents encourage ownership and a shared sense of responsibility for maintaining these anchor points in the future.