Determinants of social capital: prioritising issues for holistic urban sustainability assessments

Cletus Moobela, Andrew, D. F Price, Peter J. Taylor, Vivek Mathur

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The concept of social capital is gaining increasing recognition as a concomitant for social and economic development. Robert Putnam's (2000) exposition of the crucial correspondence between the decline of social capital on one hand and the economic lives of American people on the other received wide acclaim at home and abroad. Contemporary literature on development studies is equally replete with references to the World Bank's subscription that social capital has an important role to play fostering sustainable development. There is a general agreement among proponents of social capital that well-governed cities which exhibit strong economic growth do so because of their high stocks of social capital (Portes, 1998). There is also a similar realisation that the design and form of cities, neighbourhoods and individual buildings have significant implications on social capital as they can affect the way people interact and bond with each other and the sense of community among individuals (Dannenberg et al, 2003; Lindström et al, 2003). The fundamental premise is that some urban designs encourage social ties and informal contact among residents while others violate the evolutionary pattern of civicness within the urban existence. The aim of this paper is to identify and examine the key determinants of social capital
within an urban development context. This should set the platform for a predictive model of social capital, which will enable the incorporation of the concept in a holistic urban sustainability assessment framework. The paper argues that social capital is a subject of self-organisation, whose evolution to higher levels can be catalysed by the prevalence of a critical balance in the design of the physical urban environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational conference on whole life sustainability and its assessment
EditorsM. Homer, C. Hardcastle, A. Price, J. Bebbington
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventInternational Conference on whole life sustainability and its assessment - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 200729 Jun 2007


ConferenceInternational Conference on whole life sustainability and its assessment
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Determinants of social capital: prioritising issues for holistic urban sustainability assessments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this