The impacts of a school closure on neighbourhood social cohesion: narratives from Invercargill, New Zealand

Health Place. 2001 Dec;7(4):307-17. doi: 10.1016/s1353-8292(01)00023-5.


We propose that, beyond their educational function, schools can serve as catalysts for community participation, social cohesion and the vitality of neighbourhoods. The paper explores the impacts of a school closure on families in an urban neighbourhood in Invercargill, New Zealand. The highest urban depopulation rate in the country has had implications for the viability of Invercargill schools. We present a qualitative study of narratives gathered during an interview-based study of the closure of Surrey Park School. Our analysis highlights the impact of school closure for low-income families and more generally reflects on the place of schools in contributing to social cohesion and the broadly defined health of a community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anecdotes as Topic
  • Child
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • New Zealand
  • Parents / psychology
  • Poverty
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Schools / organization & administration*
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Environment
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors