Recently my urban planning colleague Megan Carr sent a story of a remarkable town a hundred miles west of New York. The close-knit, Italian-American inhabitants named the town after their ancestral home in Italy. It is a small town with a strong sense of community. It also has a special kind of story; for a very long time it had a virtual absence of heart disease. As it adopted modern habits, it fell from grace somewhat. But even today, it remains remarkable.
The town is called Roseto. It is well known in medical circles as the Roseto Effect.
The public most recently came to know Roseto because of a story in Malcolm Gladwell's fascinating book "Outliers: the story of success".
In a November speech Gladwell describes Roseto in which one researcher:
"realized he’d stumbled on a place where the sense of community was so strong, and so powerful, and so supportive, that it enabled people who lived there to effectively deal with the stress of modern life and live a kind of magical life. They had created community bonds that were so extraordinary that they were able to overcome the pattern of illness and mortality in American life."
It is a great story. It is all about the very things most important to community developers, prevention specialists, police, and anyone else interested in safe places.
Gladwell is clearly an ally of what we are trying to achieve. Read Gladwell's speech HERE.