Socially Connected Communities

Healthy Places by Design is profoundly grateful for the generosity and wisdom of many contributors to these resources including local leaders who provided insights, ideas, feedback, and stories, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Global Ideas for U.S. Solutions team members.

Social isolation is not a personal choice or individual problem, but one that is rooted in community design, social norms, and systemic injustices.

In recent decades, people in the United States and around the world have experienced soaring rates of social isolation, with profound impacts on health and well-being. Far from being a personal choice, social isolation stems from community designs and systemic injustices that keep people and neighborhoods apart. We must reshape our communities in ways that support meaningful social connection among residents, improve trust between neighbors, and strengthen an overall sense of belonging and community. From architects to educators, faith leaders to health providers, local governments to grantmakers—we all can play a part in creating opportunities that build relationships between neighbors, improve trust, and foster an overall sense of community.

Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation

Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation offers five recommendations for creating socially connected communities, starting with public spaces, transportation, and housing.

The efforts that contributed to this report began in 2017 when the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)’s Global Ideas for U.S. Solutions team invested in an initiative to better understand social isolation and how to address it. In 2020, Healthy Places by Design partnered with RWJF to manage and lead a Social Isolation Learning Network, in which participants from diverse places and organizations candidly shared their efforts to reduce social isolation. Wishing to share what they had learned more broadly, participants in the Social Isolation Learning Network and Healthy Places by Design co-created this report.

Read the full report here

One Page Report Overview

Local Leaders for Socially Connected Communities Network

Are you interested in joining our Local Leaders for Socially Connected Communities network? This engaged group aims to advance action that results in more socially connected and equitable communities. Join local government, community, and philanthrophic leaders to explore concepts, ideas, and community-level strategies that reduce social isolation and strengthen social ties, especially for those who are most marginalized. Monthly Zoom meetings alternate between topic-based conversations and open space for peer networking. All calls take place on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 3:30 pm EST. If you are interested in joining the network, use the contact button below.  join the network.


Previous Topic-Based Session Summaries

From Honolulu to NYC, Intergenerational Strategies Are Tackling Social Isolation

Measuring Social Connectedness in Local Communities

How Two Funders Support Socially Connected Communities

Increasing Social Connectedness in Rural Settings

Action Guides

During Heathy Places by Design’s two-decade history of supporting community partnerships across the United States, we’ve seen that efforts to create community-led change are more effective when residents have local government leader support (from multiple sectors) and investments (of resources and partnerships) from philanthropic organizations.

To support this need, we developed complementary Action Guides that local government leaders and grantmaking organizations can use as tailored supplements to the Socially Connected Communities report. Future Action Guides may expand beyond these two groups.

Action Guide for Philanthropic Leaders

Action Guide for Local Government and Community Leaders

Prevention Institute - Building Socially Connected Communities Video

Rates of social isolation are soaring around the world, with profound impacts on health and wellbeing. As the world heals, how can we weave stronger connections among families, neighborhoods, and communities? We need community-led solutions focused on local talents and assets and rooted in community cultures and values. In this short video, based on "Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation," learn how communities can improve social connection.

Social Isolation & Loneliness Weekly Research Reports

This weekly research report is compiled by the Foundation for Social Connection’s Social Isolation and Loneliness Workgroup (SILWG). The report is produced to spark general discourse on the topic of social isolation and loneliness via a research and scholarly lens.

Sign up to receive the weekly report

If you're working on or interested in strengthening social connections, please reach out. We'd love to talk about ways we can work together!

Contact Us