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Social infrastructure: how shared spaces make communities work

Author(s)

YARKER Sophie

Publisher(s):

Ambition for Ageing

Publication year:

2019

This report, from the Ambition for Ageing project, identifies how social infrastructure in neighbourhoods can promote social interaction and reduce social isolation for older people. Social infrastructure provides spaces and opportunities for people to have social interactions and build connections. The report argues there needs to be a diversity of social infrastructure to support different types and levels of social connection, and considers the importance of the connections made between diverse groups of people - also known as bridging capital. It also looks at the types of social infrastructure that facilitate this, which tend to be places that the majority of the community would have the opportunity to visit, such as public libraries, cafes and parks and open public spaces. Key points include: that shared spaces within neighbourhoods are vital for reducing social isolation for older people; that different kinds of social infrastructure help support different types and levels of social capital; and the need for social infrastructure that supports intergenerational and intercultural encounters. Despite its often informal nature, social infrastructure is not naturally occurring and therefore The report highlights the need for direct investment and support to help the development of the social infrastructure and the creation of third places. (Edited publisher abstract)


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