Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (2009)
This study examines the extent to which specific social and environmental objectives have been achieved in the new urbanist community of Orenco Station (Portland, Oregon). House-level surveys were conducted in Orenco Station, as well as a traditional suburb and two long- established urban neighborhoods. Survey data reveal high levels of social interaction in the new urbanist community, as compared to the comparison neighborhoods. The analysis also reveals a higher level of walking, and an increase in the occasional use of mass transit, in the new urbanist community. However, the majority of residents in all four neighborhoods (including the new urbanist neighborhood) rely on single occupancy vehicles for their regular commute. In sum, this study shows that Orenco Station is very effective in achieving its social objectives, modestly effective in encouraging waling and the occasional use of mass transit–but not very effective in increasing primary reliance on mass transit for commuting.
The current debate on the tourism-development nexus has a rather static and narrow focus on the impact of tourism and overlooks that tourism has become strongly dependent on links between different localities. This article eschews these place-bounded approaches and focuses on linkages and the interplay between the social and the spatial within tourism developments. Drawing on the empirical case of street vendors in the tourist centre of Cusco, it explores how social capital and the way street vendors manoeuvre themselves in and through global and local environments offer new opportunities for tourism to contribute to poverty alleviation. It is maintained that social capital and interconnectivity are of fundamental importance in gaining a better understanding of the development potential of tourism.
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 peoples access to social capital through relocation.
What is the Internet doing to local community? Analysts have debated about
whether the Internet is weakening community by leading people away from meaningful in-person contact; transforming community by creating new forms of community online; or enhancing community by adding a new means of connecting with existing relationships. They have been especially concerned that the globe-spanning capabilities of the Internet can limit local involvements. Survey and ethnographic data from a “wired suburb” near Toronto show that high-speed, always-on access to the Internet, coupled with a local online discussion group, transforms and enhances neighboring. The Internet especially supports increased contact with weaker ties. In comparison to nonwired residents of the same suburb, more neighbors are known and chatted with, and they are more geographically dispersed around the suburb. Not only did the Internet support neighboring, it also facilitated discussion and mobilization around local issues.
In this article, we aim to develop a conceptual framework from a community perspective to examine the noneconomic effects of ethnic entrepreneurship, paying close attention to the linkage between entrepreneurship and community building. We base our analysis on ethnographic data from our comparative case studies of the Chinese and Korean enclave economies in Los Angeles. We argue that it is the social embeddedness of entrepreneurship, rather than individual entrepreneurs per se, that creates a unique social environment conducive to upward social mobility. This study suggests that ethnic entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in immigrant adaptation beyond observable eco- nomic gains. Policy implications are discussed.
This article makes the case for shadowing as ethnographic methodology: focusing attention on what occurs as interlocutors move among settings and situations. Whereas ethnographers often zoom in on one principal set of situations or site, we argue that intersituational variation broadens and deepens the researcher’s ethnographic account as well as affording important correctives to some common inferential pitfalls. We provide four warrants for shadowing: (a) buttressing intersituational claims, (b) deepening ethnographers’ ability to trace meaning making by showing how meanings shift as they travel and how such shifts may affect interlocutors’ understandings, (c) gaining leverage on the structure of subjects’ social worlds, and (d) helping the ethnographer make larger causal arguments. We show the use value of these considerations through an analysis of violence and informal networks in an ethnography of immigrant Latinos who met to socialize and play soccer in a Los Angeles park.
To what extent does the density of the tree cover in a city relate to the amount of social capital among neighbors? To address this question, we linked social survey data (N = 361) from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study with socioeconomic, urban form, and green space data at the census block group level using a geographic information system. We found a systematically positive relationship between the density of urban tree canopy at the neighborhood block group level and the amount of social capital at the individual level (r = .241, p < .01). Multiple regression analyses showed that tree canopy added a 22.72% increase in explanatory power to the model for social capital. This research adds a new variable—neighborhood tree canopy—to the typologies of green space that affect human social connection. Trees are a relatively inexpensive and easy intervention to enhance the strength of social ties among neighbors.
Garrett Hardin's 1968 essay "The Tragedy of the Commons" famously decried the vulnerability of finite communal resources to overexploitation. Yet collective accessibility to and ownership of resources need not necessarily lead to their mismanagement or abuse; rather, the practice of sharing resources can engender positive environmental, social, economic, and political impacts. Social capital, as both the source and product of relational interactions which occur within public space, constitutes one of these benefits. This paper investigates the relationship between temporary communal spaces and social capital through a case study of the Commons project in Christchurch, New Zealand. Generated by both the space itself and the interactions that occur within it, the social capital created in and through the Commons has become a powerful symbol of recovery in a city recovering from disaster. Instead of the tragedy of the commons, therefore, this paper presents the story of the Commons of the tragedy and explores the ways in which social capital has been fostered in and through this space.
Drawing on recent developments in field theory, this article analyzes the struggle for survival of São Paulo’s street vendors in the face of a massive eviction campaign. I conceive of street vending as a social field divided into two unequal categories—licensed street vendors and unlicensed street vendors—and show that responses to the campaign varied along group lines. Unlicensed peddlers either abandoned the field or drew on local networks to continue peddling under harsher conditions, whereas licensed street vendors relied on well-established ties to actors in the political field. After these ties proved ineffective, licensed street vendors survived thanks to the intervention of a non-governmental organization (NGO) that activated the judicial field and mobilized the legal capital vested in the licenses. The linkage role performed by this actor with cross-field networks and expertise shows the strategic import of interfield relations, which replicate and reinforce the unequal distribution of assets inside the field.
In this paper, I adopt a concept of informal public space from socialist social life as part of the language of postsocialism to explore changing uses of social space by women in contemporary Hồ Chí Minh City. Following Zdravomyslova and Voronkov, I describe the informal public as the space in culture where urbanites are able to demonstrate normality and belonging by participating in neighborhood life. I argue that the use of informal public space has been adapted to meet the new conditions of the post-reform era. Because of this, the informal public is simultaneously a space where urbanites not only can demonstrate belonging but also can mark relative social position by producing or mitigating social distance.