As mayor I am always striving to connect information I have read to what is characteristic of our Highlands community. My observations and insights hopefully focus on a broader perspective. That is what I attempted as I revisited the work of the 20th Century psychologist, Abraham Maslow. He is famous for creating a model for a hierarchy of human needs.
At the base of Maslow’s diagram is the psychological needs for food, water, warmth and rest. The next tier is security and safety. I see these two tiers of basic needs relating directly to what we do in town government. Our task is to be responsive to citizens by operating a basic system that somewhat provides these needs. Our police, firemen, utility workers all contribute. Our taxpayers expect this to be our primary focus. I might add our private sector creates great hospitality places for our visitors to rest and recharge. The overall pace of life in Highlands affords these basic essentials for all.
The next two tiers on Maslow’s ascending pyramid deals with psychological needs. These needs are not directly related to government functions, but well operated towns can make supportive contributions. The first tier in this group is a sense of belongingness and love. As a community, Highlands is committed to this notion of belonging. We want people, whether residents or visitors, to feel that they are welcomed and belong here. The town strives to create an aesthetic place where folks want to be, a community where intimate relationships with friends and family can flourish.
Above the sense of belongingness is the tier of esteem needs where one seeks a feeling of prestige and feeling of accomplishment. Highlands is also a place where individuals are proud to be residents. The many nonprofit organizations, volunteer activities, not to mention entrepreneurial endeavors, all create opportunities for individuals to attain a feeling of accomplishment and personal satisfaction. There are ample opportunities for individuals with initiative to succeed.
The top tier of Maslow’s model is self-actualization. Again, town government is not responsible, nor can facilitate this self-actualization, but Highlands is a place where people can realize their full potential by engaging in the myriad of creative activities in the artistic, scientific, intellectual, spiritual and athletic realms. Highlands has always been an active community among both young and mature citizens. One need only visit our recreation department, or other nonprofit venues, to observe a mix of folks engaged in stimulating endeavors.
I may be creating an exaggeration in applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to the Highlands community, but I believe vibrant communities are places where individuals and groups can aspire to the top of his pyramid. On a personal note, I am fortunate to live in my safe, warm home among loving family where I can realize my creative potential in producing pottery in my studio. My self esteem also rises when someone thinks enough of my work to purchase a piece, or tells me they appreciate my service as mayor.
Town of Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor