Stakeholders’ Perspectives of Social Capital in Informing the Development of Neighborhood-Based Disaster Resilience Measurements

Alan H. Kwok, Julia Becker, Douglas Paton, Emma Hudson-Doyle, David Johnston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The cultivation of neighborhood-based social capital has gained significant attention in the disaster management sector in recent years as a means to increase community disaster resilience. However, within the sector, the concept of social capital remains unclear and its measurement is limited at the neighborhood level due to a focus on predominately top-down and quantitative approaches. By using a qualitative, inductive-driven approach, this paper proposes an integrated social capital measurement framework that combines qualitative and quantitative measures for evaluating levels of social capital in neighborhoods. Nine focus groups consisting of 58 participants across a range of socioeconomically and ethnically diverse urban neighborhoods in New Zealand and the United States were conducted. Three key themes were identified that relate to the formation, activation, and benefits of social capital resources: community demography, cultural influences on social support, and neighborhood governance. By synthesizing the study’s results and existing literature, this paper proposes a measurement framework that incorporates both quantitative indicators and contextual questions across six structural and four cognitive social capital domains. The framework can serve as a starting point for neighborhood stakeholders, emergency management practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to assess the resilience of neighborhoods and identify areas for improvement.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26-57
    Number of pages32
    JournalJournal of Applied Social Science
    Issue number1
    Early online date15 Feb 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

    Cite this