Community and Neighborhood Development
Community and Neighborhood Development
A lot of research and work on household residential mobility is focused on demographic and financial lifecycle changes that affect or impact housing needs and inclinations. However, there is an increasing amount of research that is primarily focused on the structural context in which these changes take place. Notably, there are certain limitations to using a structural approach to understanding community and social organization. First, most neighborhood-level predictors of mobility are obtained from census data, that often fails to adequately capture the neighborhood physical cues that encountered by residents on a regular basis, including litter, drug related problems, and graffiti. Moreover, there is limited research on the underlying social and behavioral processes that can highlight the relationship between objective neighborhood features and the household decisions to stay or move.
According to Sharp and Warner (2018), neighborhood characteristics influence the residential mobility process, partly because of the degree to which individuals are attached to or engaged with their neighborhoods. In Sharp and Warner’s (2016) study, Longitudinal data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (LAFANS) is examined to determine the impact of neighborhood context on residential mobility and the degree to which such a relationship can be explained by the characteristics of community social organization. Sharp and Warner’s (2016) research is based on two key decision-making approaches relevant to residential mobility. The first approach involves the evaluation of several key measures of community social organization and their impacts on neighborhood mobility not presented in previous articles. The second approach is the use of “ecometric” objective measures of neighborhood physical disorder in the neighborhood and residential mobility context.
Generally, the traditional way of dealing with residential mobility decision making emphasizes on the analysis of family unit changes and residential fulfillment. From this point of view, mobility happens when people or families experience life cycle changes that result in shifts in family composition, thus creating a mismatch between a family demographic attributes and those of dwelling place (Sharp and Warner, 2016). The abrupt changes may push families to look for new accommodations in line with their developing needs and inclinations. Speare (1974) as referred to by Sharp and Warner (2016) expanded the model by concentrating on residential dissatisfaction or “stress” emanating from certain events. That is if disappointment surpasses an individual’s level of stress threshold they are highly bound to move out looking for other accommodations and move to somewhere that can be considered reasonable.. Therefore, an individual’s level of characteristics influences their residential satisfaction, which in turn affects their mobility and moving patterns. Despite the great deal of emphasis on individual characteristics and their socio-economic background in residential mobility studies, there is a great deal of evidence that suggests that objective neighborhood characteristics can influence mobility expectations.
Sharp and Weiner’s (2016) studies and models likewise represent two additional structural features that are relevant for mobility analysis and comprehension. First, is that genuine residential turnover in one’s neighborhood affects their own mobility conduct. Second is that there is a relative impact of ethnoracial and immigrant populations on residential mobility. That is, the longing to move or relocate arises in light of expanding populations of ethnic minorities and immigrants in the United States and European settings. In Sharp and Weiner’s (2016) theoretical model they contend that sentiments of social segregation, specifically neighborhood fear closeness of friends, social attachment and integration are indispensable markers of community social organization pivotal in clarifying the connection between neighborhood characteristics and mobility thoughts and neighborhood satisfaction. Clark and Coulter (2015) as cited by Sharp and Weiner (2016) noticed that individuals who have a sense of belonging in a specific region were less inclined to move from the region or have considerations about moving away from the area. Conversely, people who are socially segregated are less inclined to feel grounded to the area.
The longitudinal data based of LAFANS used in Sharp and Walter’s research contained stratified random samples of 65 census tracts in Los Angeles County collected in two waves (2000-2002 and 2006–2008). The tracts were based off three strata on the basis of tract poverty level, namely very poor, poor, and non poor. In the first wave, adults and children from the 3, 085 households were randomly selected and interviewed across the 65 sampled tracts. In the second Wave, the respondents in Wave 1 were reinterviewed, even if they had left the county, state, or country.
Those who moved out of Los Angeles County were eliminated from the standard in-person interview and were not questioned on neighborhood-related questions in the Adult Module. In wave 2, about 1,187 panel respondents were interviewed in the adult module. After the elimination of respondents with missing information, the final analytic sample of panel respondents was left at 1.129 (Sharp & Warner, 2016). The complete panel weights used in the analysis, were a combination of wave 1 design weight and wave 2 attrition adjustment. Data used to create neighborhood-level measures are were drawn from the LAFANS Neighborhood observations and the 2000 Census Summary Files. Tract-level data on neighborhood turnover rates and immigrant populations were gathered from the 2000 census. The interviewers asked respondents to envision the neighborhoods as encompassing the, “block or street they lived on and several blocks and streets in each direction.” The dependent variables in the study were mobility thoughts and actual mobility. Neighborhood measures included that were captured in previous studies on neighborhoods and residential mobility, include the extent of physical disorder. This can be marked by the presence of certain key items, such as abandoned cars, drug paraphernalia, graffiti, and garbage and litter.
The research captured a number of resident attitudes and behaviors linked with the social organization of the neighborhood and residential mobility. Fear of the neighborhood was captured in four-item questions aimed at gaging the respondents views about walking around the neighborhood (Sharp & Warner, 2016). Concerning social cohesiveness five LAFANS questions were used to determine whether individuals in the neighborhood considered themselves close knit, helpful, and shared common values.
Johnson and Halegoua’s (2015), research was centered on understanding the impacts of social media on neighborhoods and residential mobility. Some of the major issues covered in Johnson and Halegoua’s research include what occurs when a failing neighborhood tries to redeem itself using social media and under what conditions is social media helpful for neighborhood reengagement. Johnson and Halegoua’s (2015), research was conducted on a mid-sized neighborhood in a Mid-Western city in the United States and involved analyzing participation in neighborhood associations. Social media and digital technologies have the potential to create “information grounds” that are an immediate and cost-effective means of communication and connection within neighborhoods. Moreover, research points that social media and information technology can be a vital source of empowerment to residents and communities if they are given audience to author and control the flow of information within their communities.
The internet and related technology can enhance communities in terms of coordination and mobilization, promote their social capital, and interpersonal or collective relationships. In a study conducted by Hampton and Wellman (2003) as cited by Johnson and Halegoua (2015) revealed that wired residents generally experienced more neighborhood connections, compared to non-wired residents, and that the use of information technologies, such as online forums and emails helped create a dense network of connections that promoted community organizing. Hampton and Wellman (2003) conducted their case study in the Indian Hills neighborhood in Lawrence, Kansas and the Indian Hills neighborhood association (IHNA). Due to the dwindling levels of participation in the IHNA it was suggested that the association a social media platform. Johnson and Halegoua (2015) employed the use of questionnaires, that were mailed to about 573 households in the IHNA boundaries. Some of the areas the survey covered included demographic information, sense of community, involvement in neighborhood activities, and preferred method of communication within the neighborhood. Moreover, demographic information in addition to personal attitudes towards the neighborhood and different communication methods were incorporated in the research.
Community and Neighborhood Development