Opinion

Federal Way's quality of life depends on you | Andy Hobbs

Do you like living in Federal Way? If so, share the love — and your city could love you back.

The Mirror is launching a series that highlights ideas for improving quality of life in Federal Way. Quality of life relates to the satisfaction people derive from social, cultural and intellectual opportunities in the place they call home. Webster’s dictionary defines quality as “a degree of excellence.” The more Federal Way creates and supports amenities of excellence, the more attached and satisfied residents will become with their city.

A recent survey by Gallup suggests that residents invest more time, money and energy in communities with quality of life amenities. These amenities range from a college campus and cultural celebrations to top-notch parks and a thriving music scene. Two examples in Federal Way include the MLK celebration and the Fourth of July fireworks — and remember, some cities have neither of these. Same goes with a quality veterans tribute or charity-driven clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions.

People involved with these events and groups are brought together by a shared purpose, whether they’re honoring Independence Day or chatting with friends over coffee. The more value residents find in Federal Way, the more they will stay and play. This investment of time, money and energy benefits businesses, schools and the overall well-being of residents.

Each investment in the community is like a positive ripple in the water, so to speak, and the more positive ripples in the water, the mightier the current grows.

The Mirror’s series will show Federal Way residents more reasons to appreciate and invest in their city, for when that happens, everyone wins.

The idea behind the series was partially inspired by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. He coined the term “third place” to describe a gathering spot outside of home (“first place”) and work (“second place”). Churches, coffee shops and senior centers are examples of third places. A good third place brims with social interaction and mutual interests, and is colored by the pursuit of happiness.

It is important to distinguish between standard of living and quality of life. Standard of living refers to the accessibility of tangible needs such as income and health care. Those issues of survival are already mainstays in the public consciousness. Quality of life, in contrast, tends to be peripheral and subtle. It deals with the satisfaction of survival and day-to-day living.

All Federal Way residents share an innate desire, and the right, for a higher quality of life. The best way to reach that goal is to move toward it.

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