Social capital is not a new term. In fact, Social Capital has been examined by many scholars for almost 100 years.
The importance of social capital is well known across the property industry, but for some reason it tends to be assigned a low value in exchange for convenience and “efficiency.”
So what is social capital and why does it appear not to be prioritised on city making projects?
Simply put, social capital is the value derived from positive connections between people.
While this may seem to be the realm of social scientists, social capital is one of the major outcomes of great city making projects:
playgrounds and dog parks provide opportunities for people to meet their neighbours,
food courts or dining precincts provide popular meeting places between friends;
town squares and or plazas can host public events, bringing the community together; and
pubs can provide venues for local community group meetings.
All of these urban life outcomes are the result of great local amenity, facilitating strong communities.
By thinking explicitly about social capital outcomes, the property industry along with Local and State Government have the ability to make a conscious choice to build social capital for communities and play a key role in facilitating community growth.
Why? Aside from the really important health benefits, it’s been well researched that social capital is a powerhouse for community and economic growth.
How? Perhaps in the past it’s been too difficult and time consuming to even know where to start. However, with the volume of digital data now available to us – and platforms like Neighbourlytics! – it’s very easy to get an overview quickly on how well connected a neighbourhood is for both residential communities and workplaces.
We will be unpacking social capital more in our ‘State of Australian Neighbourhoods 2024’. You can register by clicking on the button below for the release.
Create a free trial account and gain access to the data powering the 64+ Australian neighbourhoods examined in this year’s study here: