|Ph.D Student||Amoyal Einat|
|Subject||Social Capital in the Contexts of Urban Planning and|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Naomi Carmon|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The research investigates the concept of social capital in the contexts of urban planning and immigrant absorption. It is aimed at theoretical contribution to the study of this concept in these two contexts, in addition to demonstrating the relevance and potential benefit of social capital to decision-making in those fields. Social capital complements the concepts of economic capital and human capital.
An important contribution of this research is throwing a new light on social capital as an individual resource, contending that it should be defined differently than the communal concept. Accordingly, the following definition was formulated: social capital is an individual resource, composed of personal social contacts that a person have used or can potentially use to further his/her interests and/or overcome difficulties in his/her path. Trust and reciprocity are a common consequence and not a necessary component of individual social capital.
The research model presents the research variables and the links among them. At its centre stands the social capital, which serves both as a dependent variable that can be influenced by a series of socio-demographic variables and planning variables, and as an independent variable that with the previous ones can influence the integration of new immigrants. The model was examined by an empirical study that was conducted among immigrants from former USSR living in Ashdod, a city that was planned for immigrant absorption. The selected sample included immigrants of working age (30-60) from the European states of USSR who arrived in Israel in the years 1996-2004 and live in four urban quarters of Ashdod. The quarters differ from each other in several planning characteristics and the rates of immigrants living in them. The study tools included home interviews (structured questionnaire, 2008) with 269 women and men.
The research findings point to a swift process and high level of instrumental immigrant absorption: Hebrew proficiency, employment and satisfaction with housing are very high. Nevertheless, the emotional absorption is just partial. Unlike other studies in the field of immigrant absorption, this research granted a central place to social aspects of the integration process, which was measured mainly by means of bonding and bridging social capital. The findings support the suppositions inherent in the research model, according to which social capital serve as both an independent and a dependent variable. The research ends with policy implications related to decent housing and inclusionary housing in the context of immigrant absorption.