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Am J Public Health. 2003 Sep;93(9):1546-51.

Social capital and the built environment: the importance of walkable neighborhoods.

Author information

1
Department of Political Science, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506-6317, USA. kleyden@wvu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

I sought to examine whether pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use neighborhoods encourage enhanced levels of social and community engagement (i.e., social capital).

METHODS:

The study investigated the relationship between neighborhood design and individual levels of social capital. Data were obtained from a household survey that measured the social capital of citizens living in neighborhoods that ranged from traditional, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented designs to modern, car-dependent suburban subdivisions in Galway, Ireland.

RESULTS:

The analyses indicate that persons living in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods have higher levels of social capital compared with those living in car-oriented suburbs. Respondents living in walkable neighborhoods were more likely to know their neighbors, participate politically, trust others, and be socially engaged.

CONCLUSIONS:

Walkable, mixed-use neighborhood designs can encourage the development of social capital.

PMID:
12948978
PMCID:
PMC1448008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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