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Despite being terms frequently used when discussing policy, it’s not always clear what is meant by social capital and social infrastructure – or why they are so important for local communities. The 225 neighbourhoods identified by APPG research as being ‘left behind’ have a social infrastructure deficit, defined as suffering from poor connectivity (physical and digital), low levels of community engagement and a lack of places and spaces to meet. Securing foundational investment to boost social capital and build social infrastructure will be essential to improving social and economic outcomes for the 2.4 million residents of these communities.

Our speakers

Context

Social capital and why it is important 

  • Measuring Wealth, Delivering Prosperity. The Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge (2020)This is an interim report analysing the value of understanding social capital as a form of wealth, evaluating the impact that increased trust in communities has on our society and our economy.
  • Social Capital in the UK: 2020. ONS (2020). Figures on the levels of trust and social capital in the UK at the start of 2020 in addition to Research note COVID-19 and the community. Onward (2020)Survey results depicting the renewed sense of community in the immediate wake of the COVId-19 pandemic.
  • The revenge of the places that don’t matter (and what to do about it). Andreas Rodriguez-Pose, London School of Economics (2017). Rodriguez-Pose argues that the Brexit vote was a reaction by those places that have seen their social fabric slowly eroded. It emphasises the political fall-out linked to the decline of social and cultural capital in left behind areas.
  • Social capital, trust and well-being in the evaluation of wealth. National Bureau of Economic Research (2016). This paper uses data from 132 countries across the globe to analyse the benefits of improved trust between residents on national wealth. They find that the welfare returns, particularly for health benefits and income security, to investing in trust could be substantial.

The state of social infrastructure today 

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