This paper reports the results of research into social capital levels in the Central Housing Community Network, part of the community consultation structure of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Membership of the forum increased the bonding, bridging and linking social capital of its members and appeared to improve community relations, although that was not its stated purpose. However, the empirical link between social capital and the quality of community relations remains unproven. The research provides an example of the state creating a positive space for interaction with civil society through consultation on service delivery issues. In an international policy environment where ‘mixed’ communities are the ideal, the potential of service-based forums to contribute to community cohesion may have been underestimated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Urban Studies