Cooperative Housing and Social Cohesion: The Role of Linking Social Capital

Richard Lang, Andreas Novy

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


The article examines the role of housing cooperatives for social cohesion in the city by
introducing linking social capital which grasps the vertical dimension of social capital. Housing
cooperatives represent a crucial intermediate level between residents and urban housing policy,
thus providing opportunity structures for bottom-linked citizen participation. Drawing on the case
of Vienna, a large-scale household survey and interviews with key informants provide empirical
evidence on the importance of a form of social capital which links actors at different levels in the
spatial hierarchy: residents, housing managers and political decision-makers. The findings add to
our understanding of the opportunities and problems with resident participation in a policy field
structured by multi-level governance. Our two-level analysis shows that the dominant model of
governance, top-down as well as neoliberal, has structurally limited the room for participatory
practices in cooperative housing. Nevertheless, we argue that professional housing cooperatives
have a potential to give residents a voice beyond the neighbourhood. Their strong linkages with
public decision-makers at different scales can help leverage ideas and resources of residents.
Seiten (von - bis)1744 - 1764
FachzeitschriftEuropean Planning Studies
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 März 2014