Roger S. Ahlbrandt Jr.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a greater understanding of the concept of community in the lives of urban residents today and to describe the factors that account for differences in the fabric of the social life among urban neighborhoods. The implications of the analysis for neighborhood renewal and mental health policy are discussed in detail.
The analysis presented in this chapter is based upon the results of a survey of almost 6,000 households encompassing every neighborhood in the city of Pittsburgh. The findings show the conditions under which people involved themselves in their local community. The strength of communal bonds within a neighborhood is dependent upon a number of factors, including the characteristics of the residents and the characteristics of the neighborhood. Some of the latter elements can be influenced by public intervention strategies, and the policy recommendations focus on ways to support and enhance the social and institutional structure of urban neighborhoods.
The research reported on in this chapter was made possible by a grant from the Center for Studies of Metropolitan Problems of the National Institute of Mental Health. I greatly appreciate the Center's support and the assistance of Maury Lieberman, the project officer on the grant.