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Belonging and Civic Muscle
Belonging and Civic Muscle is about having fulfilling relationships and the social support people need to thrive. It’s about being part of a community, contributing to its vibrancy, and developing the power to co-create a common world.
Belonging and Civic Muscle is one of seven interrelated “vital conditions” that comprise the Vital Conditions for Community Health and Well-being framework. The framework helps us understand the systems that produce equitable well-being for all, and opportunities to shift those systems and drive improvement. Learn more about the Vital Conditions framework >>
Social support through friends, family, and other networks contributes to our practical and emotional needs, enhances mental well-being, helps us navigate the challenges of life and reinforces healthy behaviors. People with a stronger sense of efficacy, belonging and social connectedness tend to live healthier, happier lives.
At the community and neighborhood level, social cohesion strengthens social ties and engenders collective attachment. Higher levels of social cohesion are associated with higher levels of trust, cooperation and social capital, providing the necessary foundations for creating healthy patterns for working together across groups and sectors, building the “civic infrastructure” for community members to co-create a shared future. These patterns can create a virtuous cycle – working together supports building stronger communication, develops a sense of connectedness and mutual obligation. As sense of being valued and cared for within community grows, people become more confident and willing to participate in community, contributing to its vibrancy and affecting change.