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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Neighbourliness and fringe location De Jong, Johan Anton Van Zijll

Abstract

The purpose of this report is to measure the effect of isolation on neighbourliness in fringe communities. Isolation is defined as a result of location and inadequate transportation. It is suggested that the location of a community can influence social behavior among residents in three ways: (1) By influencing the physical community characteristics which could influence social behavior. (2) By selecting a residential population with a particular pattern of behavior. (3) By influencing the spatial and temporal patterns of behavior among fringe residents. A measurement of this last factor will be the topic of the report. Time, distance and transportation limit the fringe resident in the selection of his social relationships. The commuter appears to participate more in the activities of the central city or its satellites than in the activities of the dormitory community. The non-commuter, on the other hand, is more likely to take part in the activities in the residential environment. The thesis to be tested in this study is; that neighbourliness among non-commuting housewives will increase with the isolation of the residential community. This thesis is based on the following assumptions: (1) That, the isolation of a fringe community increases the probability of social contact among non-commuting residents by reducing the opportunity for selecting relationships on the basis of personal predispositions and increasing the opportunity for relationships based on convenience. (2) That, the degree of neighbourliness will increase with the probability of social contact among fringe residents. In order to test these propositions, neighbourliness is studied among the residents of 11 fringe communities and 3 urban control communities in the Greater Vancouver Area. Neighbourliness among residents is measured in terms of the percentage of informants visiting their neighbours often. The degree of isolation of a community has been measured in terms of the distances toward selected destinations which are assumed to be of daily importance to the fringe housewife and in terms of the distance to the nearest bus stop and the frequency of bus services. These measures of location are combined in a ranking scale, obtained by attaching a numerical value to the evaluations Good (0), Fair (6 1/4) and Poor (12 1/2). The highest possible isolation score would be 100, representing a 'poor' evaluation for each of the 8 measures used. The actual test consists of comparing the percentage of people that visit their neighbours often with the isolation score of their community, obtained as described above. In addition to this measure of locational factors, a measure of non-locational determinants of neighbourliness was made. The possible influence of physical community characteristics, differences in services and facilities, size and age of communities and length of stay were evaluated. The characteristics of all informants that visit their neighbours often is compared with the characteristics of those that do not, in order to establish the influence of household characteristics such as household composition and children's age groups, and social and economic characteristics such as differences in occupational and income classes. The result of the test comparison shows a rough correlation between the isolation scores and the neighbourliness scores, in the sense that communities with a low isolation score tend to have low neighbourliness percentages and those with a high degree of isolation tend to have higher neighbourliness scores. Yet, there are significant anomalies which preclude a clear conclusion whether location does or does not influence neighbourliness among fringe residents. On the other hand, some of the control tests on non-locational influences reveal some interesting information which seems to validate the propositions made in this study. It appears that housewives without private means of transportation during the day-time and housewives who have the care of young children under 5 years of age are more neighbourly than those who have the use of a car and have older children. In addition it was found that housewives who are occupied at home are more neighbourly than those working away from home. These factors seem to indicate that there are non-locational factors that seem to 'isolate' the housewife from regular contacts with the outside world. In addition to these household characteristics, the length of stay and occupational class were found to be related to neighbourliness. These findings would suggest that the most obvious explanation of a high incidence of neighbourliness in the fringe has to be sought in the selection of a particular fringe population with characteristics conducive to neighbourliness. However, this does not preclude the possibility of locational influences on neighbourliness. It is suggested that the influence of location is of a rather subtle and complex nature, so that substantially more information has to be obtained on the demand for movement among various categories of people before meaningful measurements can be made on the extent to which ecological position influences the movement of people.

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