Neighbourhood ‘Social infrastructure’ for health: The role of social capital, fear of crime and area reputation

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    There is substantial evidence of neighborhood differences in health, whereby those living in ‘poor’ neighborhoods have worse health than those living in better off neighborhoods. Potential explanations for this have focused on the concentrations of particular types of people within a neighborhood (its composition) and also on the characteristics of neighborhoods themselves (the context). There is evidence that there is something about neighborhoods that can be health promoting or health damaging, beyond the sociodemographic composition of neighborhoods. This article discusses the relevance of the ‘social infrastructure’ of neighborhoods in contributing to people’s health, in particular, the role that social capital, fear of crime, and area stigma and reputation can play in contributing to positive (or negative) social environments that can in turn affect health. This is considered also in light of theory and evidence that predicts that individuals within neighborhoods may experience this social environment differently, and that the social, physical, and material environments of neighborhoods are likely to be strongly interrelated. It is concluded that efforts to optimize the social infrastructure of neighborhoods must also attempt to address the material determinants of health.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Environmental Health
    EditorsJerome Nriagu
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Electronic)9780444639523
    ISBN (Print)9780444639516
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Bibliographical note

    2011 copyright attached to article from the 1st edition.


    • Contextual
    • Fear of crime
    • Location
    • Neighborhood
    • Reputation
    • Safety
    • Social capital
    • Social networks
    • Stigma


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