UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Community and prosperity beyond social capital: The case of Newham, East London

Henrietta Moore and Nikolay Mintchev argue that a narrow focus on social capital obscures the complexity of community dynamics. The authors consider prosperity as a lens for understanding community.

A sign reads 'Welcome to Newham London'

1 February 2017

Researchers and policymakers agree that being part of a good community is essential for people's flourishing and wellbeing. The commonly used measure for assessing the quality of communities is social capital, defined as trust in others and engagement in local activities.

However, as this article by Dr Nikolay Mintchev and Professor Henrietta Moore shows, there is more to community life than social capital. What also matters is the ways in which people imagine the kind of community that they are a part of, as well as their roles, and those of others, in making their neighbourhood a better place.

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