Social infrastructure in the form of community-based organizations such as neighborhood houses provides opportunities for relationship development among newcomers. In this paper, we ask if they also provide opportunity for newcomers to develop social capacity. We explore this question using survey data collected at 15 neighborhood houses in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (N = 675). We find that newcomers report more change in social capacity than non-newcomers. In addition, we find that different types of involvement are differently associated with changes in social capacity. Participation in a wider scope of programs and activities is particularly important for increasing social capacity.
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The International Federation of Settlements (IFS) is the umbrella organization for neighborhood houses around the world (https://ifsnetwork.org/).
We followed community-engaged principles in the project. The project grew out of a long-term engagement with the network of neighborhood houses in Metro Vancouver and regularly meetings with an advisory committee made up of neighborhood house staff that led to collaboration in setting research goals, through data collection and dissemination of our findings.
There are no demographic statistics for our target population, which limits our ability to compare our sample demographics with known target population characteristics. Though we collect data from each neighborhood house, our target population is all neighborhood house users in the region. We do not oversample in order to have representative samples from each neighborhood house. This makes cross-neighborhood house comparison unreliable.
All research procedures were approved by the authors’ university ethical review board, and approved by our community partners with whom we worked collaboratively.
Models were run with the unadjusted scope measure with no notable differences found.
Each of these models uses a simple dummy variable control for the 15 neighborhood houses that were included in the data collection. We chose this approach for its simplicity given that we are not interested in examining differences across individual neighborhood houses. The coefficients for these variables can be found in the online supplement (Table S1 and Table S2).
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Lauer, S., Yan, M.C. Social Infrastructure and Social Capacity Development Among Newcomers to Canada: the Role of Neighborhood Houses in Vancouver. Int. Migration & Integration 23, 911–929 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-021-00842-0