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Ties To The Neighborhood

Barry Wellman's (1979) "community saved" argument maintains that neighborhoods have survived despite urbanization, industrialization, and technological advances. Residents still have a sense of local ties for social support and sociability. The local neighborhood serves various functions for its residents; it provides primary relationships, social support, organizations, and numerous facilities and services near their place of residence. According to Wellman (1979), the thesis of the saved community includes heavy involvement of residents in a single neighborhood; strong network ties; extensive networks that are densely knit; solidarity of activities and sentiments; and the mobilization of assistance.

New emphasis is being given to geographically located, neighborhood-based interactions influenced by issues of locally defined power groups, social organizations, and neighborhood improvement efforts to weave the fabric of the community. Research shows that communities still exist in which residents identify with an area, known as the neighborhood, and personal interactions may still be examined within the boundaries of the neighborhood (Chaskin 1997). Residents who define the neighborhood in terms of network interactions and personal relationships tend to identify with the geographic unit compared with those considering the neighborhood in terms of the institutions and facilities.

The neighborhood community provides families with a way to deal with large-scale, urban institutions. Community theories stress the importance of preserving existing neighborhoods against the destructive effects of urban growth. Neighborhood residents committed to combating the problems of urban society have been forming local groups at a high rate. Neighborhood improvement associations seek to protect the quality of life in the local community. Membership and participation in these neighborhood associations develop a bond among the residents and attachment to the community (Oropesa 1992).

Neighborhood sentiment is often dependent on the social integration of the residents and in turn, the social integration has a significant impact on the attachment to the neighborhood for the family (Austin and Baba 1990). Various factors, such as social statuses and "who you know," will influence the level of involvement and attachment to the neighborhood (Oropesa 1992), but it is usually argued that whenever social involvement can be enhanced, it is beneficial to the residents, families, and children as well as the neighborhood. In sum, neighborhoods remain the place for meaningful social interaction, important political organization, and significant psychological attachment for families and children.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaModern Marriage & Family IssuesNeighborhood - Loss Of The Neighborhood, Ties To The Neighborhood, Effects Of Violent Neighborhoods, Neighborhood Programs And Policies