Community, Social Capital and Housing in Lisbon Neighbourhood
Social Policy Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas Lisbon, Portugal
This paper analyses the significance of housing neighbourhood ties in community through a theoretical and practical perspective, community building in Lisbon neighbourhood. It also reports the relevance of community to the welfare state in recent urban policy trend. In the age of proclamation of the decline of social capital by some researches, this paper provides significant data that proves the strength of bonding and bridging in a Lisbon neighbourhood and its relevance to social policy theory and practice. Social scientists have been researching the lost, the emergence and community as social networks. The social capital perspective is rooted in sociology and grounded in the observation that social networks have value. It can be found in different sources such as: family, friendship, co-workers, social clubs or neighbourhood. How is the perspective of a declining social capital affecting communities? How do sociologists differ from other social scientists in social capital scores? How do trust and participation matter in social networks? The paper addresses this research question through the literature review and practical research conducted in the city of Lisbon. Research reports data collected mainly in 2007 from ethnographic observation, in-depth interviews, focus groups and survey (N = 402). This article investigates the significance of neighbourhood ties in housing, community and civic engagement. It shows high level of neighbours: trust, social capital and community engagement. It confirms the pioneer relevance of this seminal urban design bairro during the 40s and 50s and its housing diversity and neighbourhood unities with relevance to present territory social cohesion and neighbours satisfaction. Results underscore the social significance of Lisbon neighbours ties in European comparative perspective.