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Conceptualizing Social Capital in the Context of Housing and Neighbourhood Management

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  • Richard Lang

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  • Dietmar Roessl
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    Abstract

    This paper provides a systematic literature overview of existing research on social capital in relation to housing and neighbourhood management. A growing body of research documents the significance of social capital for the social cohesion and well-being of neighbourhoods. Thus, in recent years, social capital has become a key concept for both, practitioners and academics dealing with issues of housing and neighbourhood management. However, as a result of its widespread use, social capital has also developed into a rather heuristic concept, generating controversy about its conceptualisation and measurement. Consequently, published articles show a high level of heterogeneity in their social capital approaches and thus, raise the demand for a review of current research in housing and neighbourhood management. Applying the method of systematic literature review, this article first identifies different schools of social capital research in the current research on housing and neighbourhood management. In a second step, theoretical as well as empirical contributions, within these research streams, are analysed and evaluated with regard to content and methodology. Finally, the paper aims to identify possible benefits and pitfalls of the different conceptualisations of social capital when studying housing areas and drawing implications for their management. Our findings highlight a lack of consensus on what social capital is, and how it should be defined in the context of housing and neighbourhood management. From the review, it is evident that researchers primarily focus on solidarity norms and patterns of social and political participation on the neighbourhood level, thus, treating social capital as a collective asset. However, extending the concept from its theoretical roots in social networks can lead to major conceptualisation and measurement problems. Thus, without clarifying the relationship between variables on the individual and collective level, the usefulness of social capital as an analytical concept for the study of housing areas is likely to be limited.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa10p1619.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p1619

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    1. John Doling, 2006. "A European Housing Policy?," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 335-349, December.
    2. Susan S. Fainstein, 2001. "Competitiveness, Cohesion, and Governance: Their Implications for Social Justice," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 884-888, December.
    3. Ian Cole & David Etherington, 2005. "Neighbourhood Renewal Policy and Spatial Differentiation in Housing Markets: Recent Trends in England and Denmark," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 77-75.
    4. Ian Cole & David Etherington, 2005. "Neighbourhood Renewal Policy and Spatial Differentiation in Housing Markets: Recent Trends in England and Denmark," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 77-75, April.
    5. John Doling, 2006. "A European Housing Policy?," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 335-349.
    6. Anders Munk, 2002. "Social Partnerships In Distressed Neighbourhoods: The Danish Case," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 2(3), pages 223-244, December.
    7. John Flint & Ade Kearns, 2006. "Housing, Neighbourhood Renewal and Social Capital: The Case of Registered Social Landlords in Scotland," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 31-54, April.
    8. Hugo Priemus, 2004. "Housing and New Urban Renewal: Current Policies in the Netherlands," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 229-246, August.
    9. Thomas Maloutas & Maro Pantelidou Malouta, 2004. "The glass menagerie of urban governance and social cohesion: concepts and stakes/concepts as stakes," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 449-465, 06.
    10. John Flint & Ade Kearns, 2006. "Housing, Neighbourhood Renewal and Social Capital: The Case of Registered Social Landlords in Scotland," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 31-54.
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