A majority of Brooklynites are content to call the borough home, and are eager to get involved in making their neighborhood’s better.
That according to a new study from the non-profit Citizens Committee, which recently released its annual Speak Out, New York survey, which seeks to find out how New Yorkers feel about their neighborhoods and what they are willing to do to make them better.
To conduct the survey, the Citizens Committee partnered with 34 neighborhood groups to survey 4,400 New York City residents.
Among Brooklyn residents surveyed, respondents showed a fairly high level of satisfaction with their neighborhoods and a potentially high capacity for civic engagement.
More ominously, 53 percent of Brooklynites felt their neighborhoods would become too expensive for them in the future. Citywide, this figure was also high, at 47 percent.
Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they were either “very satisfied” (27 percent) or “somewhat satisfied” (54 percent) with the quality of life in their neighborhood. (The responses were not broken down by neighborhood, so all responses were Brooklyn-wide.)
Only 19 percent of those surveyed reported being “not at all satisfied,” and 34 percent said they would like to move to another neighborhood.
The study also found that 53 percent of Brooklyn respondents were “very interested” in neighborhood or community affairs, with 40 percent saying they were “somewhat interested.”
Fifty-six percent of respondents said they had done something recently to improve their neighborhoods, while 65 percent said they were interested in becoming more involved in community affairs in the future.
The activities that residents were most likely to become involved in were projects for young people (25 percent) or beautification projects like planting trees or flowers (20 percent).
These figures for Brooklyn regarding civic engagement were similar to the citywide figures, leading the authors of the study to conclude:
“The results of the survey… show a high level of neighborhood involvement and a strong desire of residents to be more involved in the fabric of community life. New Yorkers are prepared to roll up their sleeves and do the difficult work of active citizenship. The principle challenge for policy makers is how to encourage and harness that civic energy and action to meet the challenges ahead.”
The study also looked at barriers people face to becoming more involved. The most common barrier, which 29 percent of Brooklyn respondents said they encountered, was not knowing about existing civic opportunities in the neighborhood. A full 13 percent marked down that “There are no organized groups in my neighborhood” on the survey.
One of the more interesting parts of the survey was its “Interactions among Neighbors” section. 29 percent of Brooklyn respondents said “We greet each other in the hallway or outside,” and 12 percent said “We can count on each other for small favors.”
Twenty-four percent of respondents characterized their neighbors as “friends” and 23 percent marked down “We are acquaintances.” But 10 percent said “We do not know each other at all,” while 3 percent said “We have had conflicts.”
©2009 Community News Group
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