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A quick email to announce the publication of the RSA’s report on the utility of social network analysis for community regeneration.
The Connected Communities' report argues for a new approach to community regeneration, based on an understanding of the importance of social networks, and the potential of SNA interventions in efforts to combat isolation and to support the development of resilient and empowered communities.
Based on an extensive research project undertaken in New Cross Gate in southeast London, and in Knowle West, Bristol, the report combined SNA as diagnostic tool and analysis of community policy and practice in the UK to create an analytical framework based on notions of connectivity, contagion and reflexivity.
Our analysis has given us a preliminary understanding of New Cross Gate which will be used to shape SNA-based interventions in the community. Amongst other things the research highlighted that:
• A quarter of our respondents could not name anyone in their social network who they thought was a) good at bringing people together or b) could help them contact someone with influence, power or responsibility to change things locally.
• One in fifty of our respondents did not know anybody in their local area that supported them or helped them to make changes in any way.
• ‘Familiar strangers’ like postmen and dustmen appear to be under-utilised community resources; in our case study more people recognise and find value in their postman than their local councillor.
• Our geographic sense of what is central to a community is highly misleading, and community hubs, including pubs and sports clubs, are an important aspect of community resilience and empowerment.
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