Why Does It Matter
Collaboration and relationships between neighbors have valuable emotional, social, and economic benefits for the entire community.
Working together with neighbors to solve a problem or to fix a specific issue, shows an active social connection that transcends just a friendly relationship between residents in a neighborhood; it can be a good indicator of engagement within a neighborhood and the broader community.
Developing social capital by working together, including among neighbors, can help build connectedness and trust within a community, which can then translate into a greater likelihood of people working collectively to solve local issues. The importance of support networks was also a trend highlighted in The Landscape Listening Report, as local residents consistently identified the importance of available support networks throughout their lives, and also the difficulty some of our neighbors have in finding and accessing a strong network, especially in times of need.
Research from The American Journal of Public Health found a slight increase in a community's social capital can even reduce mortality levels by 8%. The same study also found that social capital was correlated with income inequality; greater income disparities in a community led to diminished social cohesion among residents and weaker relationship networks.
Looking at the root causes of why people may be more or less prone to connect and collaborate can help inform how the entire community can work to build social capital, connections, and collaboration within our neighborhoods.