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By : Romana Xerez

How does social capital matter to the creation of neighbourhood networks in cities? Social housing in Portugal is some times viewed as a single architectural and building environment development failure. This article discusses a relevant Portuguese urban planning landscape and aims to contribute to the discussion of one of its main purpose – the social housing experiment. The author discusses the case of this landscape as urban policy-making and evaluates its implementation and relevance. She hypothesizes that “neighbourhood units” have become a relevant case in the context of neighbourhood planning and housing social-mix in Lisbon. Firstly, she uses theoretical arguments and findings to discuss an urban experiment - Alvalade Landscape. Secondly, the paper analyses relevant data that demonstrates its links to the housing policies thus enriching the urban design. The article offers evidence from the Alvalade Landscape case study in Lisbon of theoretical and empirical community ties in the 1940s. Thirdly, the paper identifies some elements such as community units, social mix, sidewalks, and that have an impact on neighbourhood design as well as people’s lives. The findings show that supportive neighbour ties provide important network resources (social capital) concerning daily life, illness, support or financial aid. Finally, the paper suggests the relevance that social neighbourhood community has in housing programs and policies.
Keywords: Alvalade bairro, Housing Policy; Social Capital; Building and Urban Design

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