Can Social Capital Last?

Lessons from Boston's Villa Victoria Housing Complex

November 3, 2004
Mario Luis Small (Assistant Professor of Sociology, Princeton University)

Sustaining community participation over time on a collective scale requires a justification rooted in how residents perceive their neighborhood. For the residents of the Villa’s first cohort, that justification was rooted in a collective experience during the late 1960s. Those of the second did not have it and they had nothing that could replace it. This strongly suggests that community participation is unlikely to last over extended periods without deliberate intervention. Such intervention needs structural and cultural support.