Vol. 18 No. 2 (2021): Emotional Design

Social capital and the spatial quality of neighborhoods: Parameters, indicators and strategies

Hadi Nikounam Nezami
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Apadana Institute of Higher Education, Shiraz, Iran
Ali Asadpour
Department of Interior Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Shiraz University of Arts, Shiraz, Iran

Published 2021-07-01


  • Social capital,
  • Residential neighborhoods,
  • Social capital indicators,
  • Spatial quality,
  • Neighborhood sustainability

How to Cite

Nikounam Nezami, H., & Asadpour, A. (2021). Social capital and the spatial quality of neighborhoods: Parameters, indicators and strategies. A|Z ITU JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, 18(2), 301–318. https://doi.org/doi: 10.5505/itujfa.2021.49374


Although there is extensive literature on the issue of social capital, studies that focus on the social issues of residential neighborhoods complain about a lack of socio-physical relations in planning and design strategies. Since social capital is one of the effective paradigms for creating social sustainability, its dimensions and parameters in neighborhoods remain questionable. This study aims to propose a model for increasing social capital in residential areas and suggest strategies and design criteria based on it. With this issue in mind, the present study applies a qualitative approach. In an attempt to identify the components and indicators of social capital, this paper primarily focuses on the developments of social capital. Then based on the analysis of theoretical studies, the development of social capital indicators are defined in residential neighborhoods. As a result, the components of social capital are categorized as a) social networks, b) common values, c) norms, and d) trust. Our final four-parameter model consists of “social participation and interaction” (social dimension) and “place attachment and spatial equity” (physical dimension) based on literature review in neighborhood studies. Based on the stated parameters, planning strategies and design criteria are recommended as “creating and supporting public realm” (social interaction), “resident participating in the physical space management and construction” (social participation), “increasing the presence of citizens in public and open spaces” (place attachment), and “appropriate distribution and location of functions and amenities” (spatial equity).