American Sociological Association

Facing the Great Recession in Deprived Urban Areas: How Civic Capacity Contributes to Neighborhood Resilience

Research suggests that some communities are more resilient than others in the face of the same external stress. Both the local effects of and local responses to the 2008 financial collapse and economic recession have been geographically variegated. Drawing upon two case studies in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona (Spain), this paper aims to understand why some historically deprived neighborhoods are proving more resilient than others in facing the effects of the Great Recession. We conclude that neighborhood resilience, strongly influenced by the precrash context and by socially produced conditions of vulnerability, operates in each community according to at least three context‐specific and interdependent factors: built environment, social capital, and civic capacity. We focus on civic capacity—understood as neighborhood ability to mobilize different sectors of the community to act in a coordinated fashion around matters of community‐wide importance—and demonstrate that it is a significant resource contributing to neighborhood resilience.

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Marc Parés, Ismael Blanco and Charlotte Fernández





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