I’ve just added a new case study to the site on a “housing studios” project in the Netherlands. Materials from this project point out that it is a policy of many Westerns European countries to create social mix in housing policy. Living in such mixed communities is seen a way to strengthen bridging capital across diverse groups, to lessen discrimination, to increase understanding, and to create opportunities for higher social mobility for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The municipalities featured in the Netherlands case study aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was interesting to see the priority that project organizers put on building social bonds among diverse residents.
Of course, people need to interact across social groups and this doesn’t always happen. Bureaucracy too has an uncanny way of creating hurdles to progress. Still, creating social glue seems to be a cornerstone of revitalizing broken communities … and governments seem to be recognizing this more and more. In fact, I developed this case study from a lead on the site of the Shared Societies Project—“a global initiative that provides leaders with greater understanding of the benefits of social cohesion, and the incentives and means to act to advance it.”