International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol.33, 2009, p. 974-997
Chile has achieved a massive reduction in material poverty since 1990, in part through a programme of state-subsidized housing construction that has almost eliminated slums, especially in Santiago. Sceptics assert that this improvement in material conditions has been accompanied by a decline in community cohesion in poor neighbourhoods. This article challenges this assertion, using data from a 1985 survey conducted in poblaciones (i.e. public housing dating from the 1960s) and a 2001 survey conducted in newly built public housing or villas. These surveys suggest that villas score higher than poblaciones on most indicators of social capital measured.