top of page

How "Maslow's Hierarchy" informs our work and neighborhood vision

Updated: May 23, 2022

The Theory:

Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" is one of the most prominent theories of motivation in modern psychology. It was developed by Abraham Maslow and published in 1943 in his paper called "A Theory of Motivation." Essentially, this theory suggests that in order to thrive, humans must meet their most basic needs as they develop, allowing them to grow into self-actualized individuals who can one day access their full potential.

This hierarchy is commonly represented in the form of a triangle that structures human needs in order from the most basic (bottom) to the most complex (top) as seen below:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Here is a breakdown of each category:

Physiological: air, food, water, shelter, clothing, reproduction.

Safety: personal security, employment, resources, health, and property.

Love/Belonging: friendship, intimacy, family, sense of connection.

Esteem: respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength, freedom.

Self-actualization: the desire to reach your full potential.


How it works:

Essentially, when an individual obtains needs on the lower levels, this grants them with stability to access elements that lie further up the hierarchy. Typically, these high-level needs are not tangible objects such as food, shelter, and clothing. Instead, they are more abstract needs that are harder to measure. Nonetheless, they are still critical components necessary to human flourishing.

Consider the following example:

Say an individual has a consistent job, housing, and food source after moving to a new city. While some of their physiological & safety needs are being met, they are still lacking in relationships that contribute to their overall sense of love and belonging.

Overtime, however, this individual will have the opportunity to make friends since they are not preoccupied with acquiring low-level resources, meaning that their time can be focused on social gatherings and events where they can meet other people. In this way, the acquisition of low-level needs has provided the individual with the margin for friendship in a new environment, thereby contributing to a higher-tier need of love and belonging.


Why it’s important:

Average Household Income in Grove Park

Grove Park Renewal (GPR) is a nonprofit established to stimulate the growth of Grove Park residents. In other words, the ultimate goal of the organization is to climb Maslow’s hierarchy together until self-actualization is reached. This is accomplished through offering a variety of human services to the community, starting with affordable housing units as a critical foundation since this need inevitably affects all others.

Shelter is one of our most basic needs, as seen in Maslow’s hierarchy, which makes affordable housing the first step to a changed life defined by human flourishing. On average, a Grove Park resident makes less than $25,000 in total household income, landing countless in our neighborhood well below the poverty line. As Microsoft moves their new headquarters into the area, gentrification threatens to displace many who can't afford an increase in their rent as real estate prices begin to climb. This means that our neighbors -- many who have long called Grove Park home -- will be forced to leave. The question is, where will they go?


How you can help:

At GPR, we recognize the inherent worth and undeniable potential that exists in each of our neighbors. That’s why we need your help to keep them here so that they can stay rooted in their homes/community and continue to grow with Grove Park Renewal.

Grove Park Family

While it is exciting to see Grove Park grow, we long to see our neighbors - the people who are already here - have a chance to participate in the changes to come. By donating to GPR, your generosity will fund the construction of affordable housing units that will allow more residents to stay in Grove Park. As a new nonprofit, we have seen lives changed for the better through a partnership with our organization, but we want to offer more people the same opportunity. In order to do this, we must act quickly to secure properties so that more people can stay and grow in the neighborhood.


Change is coming, and in the words of our long-time resident wiseman, Mr. Darryl, “That’s good! We just have to ask ourselves: at what cost? It’s going to cost somebody something, so how will we decide who has to pay?" It is our hope that our neighbors can be spared from the life-altering affects of gentrification in this way.

Please, consider joining us in the renewal of our beloved community. Donate today!


184 views0 comments


bottom of page