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The Missing Link Between Diversity and Community

The surprising and complex role that segregation plays in increasing a neighborhood's social capital.
relates to The Missing Link Between Diversity and Community
Bruce Cummins for U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

I’ve long argued for the advantages of a diverse neighborhood. On the most basic level, diversity is required to attract the wide range of creative talent that drives innovation and economic growth. But it’s also the case that diversity can at times be stymied by the sorting of different groups into separate areas, undermining the very mixing required for those things to happen.

Last year, I wrote about a 2014 study by sociologist Zachary Neal and psychologist Jennifer Watling Neal, which found that diversity leads to just this kind of troubling separation and self-segregation. In a new study, “Making Big Communities Small,” Neal focuses on how this dilemma might be overcome, starting with the incredibly useful and important—but often forgotten—distinction made by Harvard’s Robert Putnam about two kinds of social capital.