- Does living in a poor neighbourhood result in network poverty? A study on local networks, locality-based relationships and neighbourhood settings
- Journal of Housing and the Built Environment
- Volume | Issue number
- 25 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
This paper examines whether and how living in a poor neighbourhood results in "network poverty". Through a detailed analysis of the formation of personal networks of people living in a poor neighbourhood and those living in an affluent neighbourhood in Rotterdam, I examine the role of the neighbourhood in the formation of personal networks. I address three issues. First, whether resource-poor people who live in a poor neighbourhood form relationships with fellow-residents to compensate for their otherwise small network. I find that they do not and that their small network is primarily caused by non-participation in settings such as study, work, leisure and associations. Second, I distinguish locally maintained relationships that have originated in other settings from locality-based relationships that originated in the neighbourhood. The study shows that high network localness is more a matter of maintaining relationships in the neighbourhood than forming many new locality-based relationships with fellow-residents. Third, I examine how the neighbourhood facilitates relationship formation and conclude that this happens not in "the neighbourhood" but in neighbourhood settings, which attract a particular segment of a neighbourhood population. I conclude that the problem of network poverty is not in the first place spatial but rather lies in lack of participation in certain settings. Furthermore, social mixing policies can only be successful if they are accompanied by initiatives to draw a mixed population to neighbourhood settings and facilitate routine encounters between resource-rich and resource-poor people.
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