Research in the west on economic globalization highlighted the continual social polarization of global cities, accompanying which is the spatial polarization process. Under such a context, ‘urban ghettos’ exhibit distinctive features, including: casualization of employment, unemployment and stigmatization. In Hong Kong, the emergence of Tin Shui Wai (TSW), which is a new town developed since the early 1990s, points to the possibility of such a partitioning effect. TSW is divided into north and south with the south being developed in the first phase. The problems that TSW south has faced have been intensified in the north where 85% of the population is of low income and there is a serious lack of commercial and industrial activities, and community facilities. Yuen Long, (TSW is part of this larger district) has been occupying top positions among districts in predictors or actual figures of social problems. In response to the severity of the “problems’ of TSW North (TSWN), the Hong Kong Government has been funding community development projects that target at developing social capital of the community. Social capital, community development, poverty alleviation and their interactions constitute the conceptual framework of this research. Following the recommendations of the GRF reviewers, the PI and Co-I conducted a pilot study to construct a local scale for measuring social capital in 2011. The depth interviews with residents and focus group meetings with social workers were conducted prior to the community survey. The findings were used to review and reformulate the questionnaire. A pilot study was then conducted with a random sample of 130 respondents. Although small-scale, the quantitative study achieved the objective of constructing a local tool for measuring social capital in TSWN. This proposed study is to repeat the pilot study with a larger sample in order to validate this new measurement tool and confirm the unique composition of social capital identified by the pilot study. A case study of four community development projects that have been applying distinctive strategies for advocacy, welfare service provision, neighbourhood organization and volunteer networks will be conducted to explore in detail the strategies they have applied that involve the use of social capital in the community in general and for poverty alleviation in particular. The long term significance of this study lies in its dual theoretical and practical relevance with respect to the development of a localized measurement tool of social capital and community development of TSWN.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/13 → 31/12/14|
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