May 2022

Social capital: Evidence review and synthesis

Examining interventions that sought to improve community cohesion, social support networks and neighbourhood belonging.

Social Capital: Evidence Review and Synthesis
In partnership with

As a Centre, we aim to improve the Wellbeing of the UK. Wellbeing is how we’re doing as individuals, communities and a nation.

Community wellbeing is being well together and it has three key components: 

  1. Place – built, natural and historic environment/assets/infrastructure 
  2. People – social capital – including the  relationships between people within a place 
  3. Power – individual and collective control and agency, such as volunteering 

Understanding and monitoring social capital

For UK policy purposes, social capital is defined as “the extent and nature of our connections with others and the collective attitudes and behaviours between people that support a well-functioning, close-knit society.”

It is now an ONS interim harmonised standard with national indicators that track changes in: neighbourhood belonging, companionship, generalised trust, voting, volunteering.

The Rapid Review 

Between April and September 2022, we will work with the Centre for Thriving Places to review the evidence specifically on: 

  • Bonding capital (within a group): neighbourhood belonging, social support networks; and 
  • Bridging capital (between groups): community cohesion.

Findings from our Rapid Review will build the evidence base on community wellbeing, social capital and promote the use of harmonised social capital measures, to ensure wellbeing evidence is increasingly consistent, robust and useful.

The research team at the Centre for Thriving Places will search for studies across published and grey literature sources and focus on three main outcomes: neighbourhood belonging, social support networks and community cohesion.

The main outcome of the work will be a report and evidence map of evidence on the effectiveness of social capital interventions in the UK and across OECD countries.

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In this project

Call for evidence
Social Capital Rapid Review: Call for Evidence
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