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Nine Dimensions of Healthy Community

A community's health is made up of many separate but inter-related dimensions.

A healthy community is a place to live where all people can:

  • Meet their needs: economic, social, physical, cultural, and spiritual.
  • Work together for the common good.
  • Participate in creating their future.

Life-Long Learning

All ages have access to educational opportunities that enable them to participate in and contribute to the economic, political, social and cultural life of the community to the fullest extent of their potential.


People consistently make the effort required to capitalize on the range of differences in the community and intentionally seek ways to utilize the diverse backgrounds, experiences and skills of everyone for the benefit of the whole community.

Recreational & Artistic Opportunities

Everyone has access to a variety of recreational and artistic opportunities. The variety of opportunities available expresses the cultural backgrounds, talents and experience of all community members.

Environmental Stewardship

The community supports the environmental qualityand management of natural resources that best provide for a sustainable future. The community is aware that it must decide between competing long- and short-term uses of its natural resources.

Infrastructure & Services

The community has adequate infrastructure and all people have access to essential services, such as access to necessary services such as sanitary living conditions, health and social services.

Safety & Security

The community provides appropriate safety and security measures for all and actively addresses the causes and consequences of violence. The community actively seeks to aid all those affected by violence and to change the conditions leading to violence.

Community Leadership

There are broad-based leadership structures in which many people fill leadership roles. The same people, or same group of people, do not hold all the elected offices or chair all the committees. Volunteers are numerous and reflect the diversity (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) of the community. There are opportunities for people to gain or improve the skills that will help them be more effective in leadership roles.

Economic Opportunity

All people can earn an income that allows them to live with dignity. This dimension has a two-fold emphasis: economic opportunities that provide for adequate incomes, and long-term viability through renewing and sustaining the human and other resources that create the community’s economic advantages.

Spirituality & Wellness

A healthy community recognizes that a person does best when they are sound in body, healthy in mind, and grounded in values that direct their lives. Because the community respects personal and cultural differences, there are opportunities to support people’s efforts to live as “whole persons.”


Descriptions and examples of the 9 Dimensions of a Healthy Community

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Conversation Guide

Conduct a community resource assessment of your community

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