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Social capital, environmental health and collective action: a Hamilton, Ontario case study

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This article explores the relationships among environmental health, social capital and collective action in the industrial city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Survey results from 512 households are used to document intra-urban variation in levels of social capital (defined as norms, networks and trust) and collective action in the context of environmental health issues, and specifically air quality. Despite real differences between areas in terms of socio-demographic characteristics, little variation in either social capital or collective action by area was observed. Further, while social networks and community involvement were significant predictors of collective action, indicators of norms and trust were not. Hence, the conception of social capital as a unitary construct that produces place-specific benefits is not reflected in the example explored here.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A8 ( ), Email: [email protected] 2: School of Geography and Geology/Institute of Environment and Health, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1 ( ), Email: [email protected] 3: Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A8 ( ), Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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