University of Twente Student Theses


How can a community center contribute to social cohesion?

Urk, R.G.H. van (2016) How can a community center contribute to social cohesion?

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Abstract:This thesis will strive to answer the question ‘’To what extent and in what way does a community center contribute to social cohesion in a neighborhood?’’. In order to answer this question, a qualitative research design was used. The data for the research will be collected through interviews conducted with volunteers of the community center ‘’Het Huis van de Wijk’’. A community center consists of three layers: The management layer, the volunteer layer and the participant layer. The participant layer is the heart and soul of the community center with Social Interaction, Civic Engagement and co-operational problem solving being abundantly present. The volunteer layer maintains the activities and experiences a large amount of Social Interaction but a lesser amount of Civic Engagement and co-operational problem solving. The management layer sets the goals of the community center in accordance with the wishes of the participant layer and the volunteer layer and screens all the activities. After analyzing the interviews, this research concludes that the role of the management layer remains partially unclear. It should be noted however that due to the nature of the study, this research can only provide an answer to how a community center can contribute to social cohesion and not to what extent it can contribute. Quantitative research should be performed in order to answer to what extent a community center can contribute to social cohesion. As such, this researches concludes that a community center could contribute to social cohesion by providing a place where the participant layer can organize activities. By organizing activities Social Interaction occurs and Civic Engagement and co-operational problem solving is triggered. Together these three give shape to social networks and social cohesion that form social cohesion. The research is relevant from a both scientific and societal point of view for it increases the scientific knowledge available on this topic, which until now has been an under developed area of scientific study. This thesis can also help policy-makers to understand the importance and effectiveness of a community center in increasing social cohesion in other neighborhoods and can help community centers finding the best approach on how to organize activities.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Management Society and Technology BSc (56654)
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