Objectives: I sought to examine whether pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use neighborhoods encourage enhanced levels of social and community engagement (i.e., social capital).
Methods: The study investigated the relationship between neighborhood design and individual levels of social capital. Data were obtained from a household survey that measured the social capital of citizens living in neighborhoods that ranged from traditional, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented designs to modern, car-dependent suburban subdivisions in Galway, Ireland.
Results: The analyses indicate that persons living in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods have higher levels of social capital compared with those living in car-oriented suburbs. Respondents living in walkable neighborhoods were more likely to know their neighbors, participate politically, trust others, and be socially engaged.
Conclusions: Walkable, mixed-use neighborhood designs can encourage the development of social capital.