social capital noun. the value of our social networks & relationships

What is “Social Capital”?

The idea of social capital is that our social networks have value. Social capital refers to the collective value of all “social networks” and the impulses that come from these networks to do things for each other. Social capital can be measured by the amount of trust and “reciprocity” in a community or between individuals.

Higher social capital means a stronger sense of trust, higher civic engagement, more involvement in community, and more connections across differences.

By building social capital, we look to create vibrant neighborhoods with people of diverse backgrounds connecting across differences, leading to a community where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive.

Key Values of Social Capital

Relationships are central—to strengthening communities, to individual well-being.
We can do more by working together. Straight-forward enough!
Build on strengths–everyone has something to contribute, and individuals can make a greater contribution when we are connected.
Bridging social capital is especially important—creating relationships across differences, finding and cultivating points of commonality.
Communities are strengthened by many different acts of participation. Some problems are best solved informally amongst neighbors; others lend themselves to being addressed by volunteers; while others require political action.
Place matters. This has two subpoints: i) relationships in place-based communities still matter– I can get a great recipe for chicken soup from a Facebook friend in Australia, but that friend can’t bring me soup when I’m sick; ii) the physical contours of a community—natural and people-created—play an important role in the social relationships of a community.
Openness to discourse and the willingness to seek common ground, especially with those of different backgrounds and views.