Critique: the Relationship Between Walkability and Social Capital

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Critique: the Relationship between Walkability and Social Capital The main goal of this research study was to find a correlation between the walkability of communities and social capital as indicators of the quality of life in certain neighborhoods and municipals. Through a two-step intensive study, researchers, Shannon Rogers, John Halstead, Kevin Gardner, and Cynthia Carlson, have found that more walkable neighborhoods cultivate greater levels of social capital. The first step was a pilot study to test their methods, survey selected members of the community, and look for initial relationships. The second step was a more intensive research that involved twenty neighborhoods within two different municipalities (Portsmouth and Manchester) in New Hampshire. This second study allowed the researcher to collect a much bigger amount of information that included neighbor types, social, economic, and cultural diversity. What this research did not explain was how the walkability of a certain community or neighborhood is based on how friendly it is to pedestrians and how easily pedestrians could get from one point to another. There are a number of benefits for walkable communities, which include health, environmental, and economic benefits. However, the challenges and difficulties of evaluating walkability require extensive research and observations on various factors. These influencing factors include the presence or absence and quality of sidewalks, traffic, road conditions, land use patterns, building accessibility, and safety. Social capital is defined as a variety of different individuals or social groups with a common factor. These social groups consist of social structures and facilitate certain actions to improve trust, lifestyles, and networks. Both social capital and walkibility are considered indicators for quality of life along with economic well-being and third places, which are social places that are not home or work. Logic and consistency:

The argument definitely proves to be viable and suggests that there are many more causes in the relationship between walkable communities and social capital. Because this study consisted of two different instruments, both measuring quantitative and qualitative information, it is easy to assume that the argument is very much logical. However, there are inconsistencies with the data they provided. During the first step, the researchers received a response rate of 50 percent from both neighborhoods and with already a small amount, the generalizations that the walkability of a neighborhood creates a higher social capital is not strong enough to persuade readers that there is a definite relationship between the two. With such a small return rate, an unequal pool of information from the independent variables, and a lack of randomness from the neighborhoods; it is safe to assume that the numbers do not really reflect their hypothesis. Their method for the first step was to survey 50 random members of both communities and many refused or did not respond. After three failed attempts, a paper copy would be mailed to the residents. This method of surveying did not work out so effectively. However, in their second step, they just mailed surveys to community members and received a higher rate of return. The differences in the table below, from step 1, are not significant enough to prove this point. Although this study did not prove to be effective, the second study, which was created to expand this pilot study, shows a much more correlation between the two quality of life indicators. Table 1 Summary of survey results

Characteristic| Faculty (n = 25)| Longmarsh (n = 23)| Demographics|
 Age (mean)| 61| 51|
 Very or Moderately Conservative| 28%| 39%|
 Very or Moderately Liberal| 64%| 35%|
 Very happy| 48%| 52%|
 Excellent health| 40%| 39%|
 Religious services almost every week or more often| 24%| 39%| Neighborhood Physical Perceptions|
 How many...
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