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Cityscape: Volume 12 Number 1 | Chapter 2



Volume 12 Number 1

Neighborhood Institutions, Facilities, and Public Space: A Missing Link for HOPE VI Residents' Development of Social Capital?

Alexandra M. Curley

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


This study assessed the factors that shaped the development of shared trust, norms, reciprocity (TNR), and social ties-important foundations of social capital-for low-income HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere) residents who relocated to new communities. A longitudinal mixed-methods approach revealed the distinct but understudied role that neighborhood institutions, facilities, and public spaces play in shaping observations, encounters, and interactions with other coresidents (as well as outsiders). Multivariate analyses of survey data indicate that neighborhood facilities and public spaces, such as parks, libraries, and recreation facilities, were very strong predictors of TNR among neighbors. Indepth interviews with relocated women revealed the ways in which neighborhood structure and public spaces can shape social encounters and relations in the neighborhood. This article presents a discussion of the ways in which these important but often overlooked neighborhood attributes can structure contact with neighbors and considers implications for policies aimed at improving low-income people's access to social capital through relocation.

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