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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2006): Community regeneration and development - overseas

Towards more social cohesion in large post-Second World War housing estates? A case study in Utrecht, the Netherlands

E. van Beckhoven and R. van Kempen

Housing Studies, vol.21, 2006, p.477-500

Large, post-Second World War housing estates are some of the most deprived areas of European cities. They are also the focal points of much research and many policy interventions, including initiatives to make them nicer places to live by promoting social cohesion. This research investigated how important social cohesion is to residents as opposed to policymakers. Results show that, while certain aspects of social cohesion are valued, concern about the social cohesiveness of a neighbourhood does not much influence people’s housing careers. Other issues, such as house size and affordability, are more important. These results put into question the current stress on promotion of social cohesion in urban policy.

Urban community in China: service, participation and development

Q. Xu and J.C. Chow

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.15, 2006, p.199-208

In the context of rapid urbanisation, the Chinese government has recognised the importance of community development in meeting the increasing demand for social services. In 1994 it officially adopted community service as an alternative way of providing a welfare safety net in urban areas. Alongside this top-down approach, resident-initiated activities and grassroots organisations at the community level are flourishing. Using a case study in Beijing, the authors show that the new Chinese market economy is pressing the urban population to reconnect with the local community to ensure their welfare security and quality of life.

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