Sociospatial Relations: The Role of Neighborhood Walkability on Community Currency Activities
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Communities with higher levels of social capital tend to show lower crime rates, well-realized democracy, and improved economic development through collaboration. Community Currency (CC) has been shown to be an effective form of social capital, the use of which leads to more viable communities. Empirical studies illustrate that CC has positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes. While CC systems are actively operated in some areas, they are not in others. Understanding the reasons for some CC systems to be more active than others would help us build stronger CC systems. However, the impacts of neighborhood environments (such as walkability) on CC remains unexplored. Examining the attributes of neighborhood environments in areas where CC programs actively operate will help replicate their success. Such findings will help communities become more livable. The present exploratory study examined how the characteristics of the neighborhood environment influenced the levels of CC activities, community attachment, and quality of life for individuals who do, and do not, use CC. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected throughout a network of ten cities in northeast Ohio that use a single common CC system. After controlling for demographic factors, the analysis showed that several characteristics of neighborhood environments (e.g., destination accessibility and place dependence) were positively related to the incidence of CC membership and the levels of CC member activity. Based on these results, it is suggested that CC organizations actively recruit members in highly walkable areas where diverse amenities are concentrated, particularly given that CC members showed higher levels of community attachment and quality of life compared to nonmembers. In sum, findings of this study can help CC organizations identify ways to increase participation in CC programs. Also, policymakers, planners, and designers may apply CC as an asset-based development approach to their work and improve their physical neighborhood environments by including more walkable areas, which can increase the social and economic vitality of communities through more sociable neighborhood environments.
quality of life
Kwon, Mizzo (2016). Sociospatial Relations: The Role of Neighborhood Walkability on Community Currency Activities. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from