A multilevel path analysis of social networks and social interaction in the neighbourhood

P.E.W. Berg, van den, H.J.P. Timmermans

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In urban renewal policies in the Netherlands, great importance is attached to housing diversification and social mix in neighbourhoods. The assumption that housing diversification will lead to more neighbourhood-based social interaction and social cohesion has been taken for granted, although empirical evidence supporting this assumption is scarce and inconclusive. It is therefore important to improve our understanding of the effects of neighbourhood characteristics on neighbourhood-based social contacts, based on empirical results. This paper aims to contribute to this line of research by studying the role of socio-demographics and neighbourhood characteristics in the formation of social network ties and social interactions with neighbours. These relationships are analysed using a multi-level path analysis approach. The analyses are based on data collected in 2011 in 70 different neighbourhoods in Eindhoven, the Netherlands in a survey among 751 respondents. The results indicate that neighbourhood-based contacts are influenced by socio-demographic characteristics. People who spend more time at home (people with children and people who do not work) and who have been living longer at the current address have a larger share of neighbours in their social network and higher contact frequencies with their neighbours. Immigrants have a smaller share of neighbours in their social network. Education is found to have a negative effect, whereas income is found to have a positive effect on social interaction with neighbours. Neighbourhood characteristics are not found to affect social network size, the share of neighbours in the network or the frequency of interaction with neighbours. This finding is at variance with the assumption that an adaptation of neighbourhood characteristics (through urban renewal) can lead to increasing social interaction among neighbours.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Annual Conference of the European Real Estate Society (ERES), 3-6 July 2013, Vienna, Austria
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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