Above is a picture we took of the new neighborhood notice the SUPER busy street with lots and lots of cars....
To assess the social capital of suburban neighborhoods, we interviewed 20 houses in two neighborhoods in Cary, North Carolina. The first was a newly built neighborhood of town homes, the second, a neighborhood of houses built in the 90's.
We asked each house these three questions:
1) Do you know the names of both your next-door neighbors?
2) About how often have you had them over to your house? (within the past year or two)
3) How often (on average) does you or your family carpool with others during the week?
Check out some of our results:
In the newer neighborhood:
70% know at least one of their neighbors' names.
50% had never had their neighbor over to their house.
70% never carpool during the week.
In the older neighborhood:
100% know the names of both their neighbors.
50% have their neighbors over more than 5 times a year.
50% carpool everyday.
We found that in the newer neighborhood of town homes, neighbors really did not know each other, and social capital was very low. There was no one outside the houses, and cars were locked inside garages. The people who came to the door were mainly young single adults, or more elderly men. In the older, more established neighborhood, kids were playing in the streets while parents sat on front porches. Most people claimed to carpool, and many regularly had neighbors over for dinner. Social capital in this neighborhood was very high. From this, we were able to conclude that within demographics where there are large families, social capital is much higher than in a community of single working adults.