Putting identity into the community: Exploring the social dynamics of urban regeneration

Heath, Stacey C.; Rabinovich, Anna and Barreto, Manuela (2017). Putting identity into the community: Exploring the social dynamics of urban regeneration. European Journal of Social Psychology, 47(7) pp. 855–866.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2296


The present paper adopts a social identity perspective to examine the relationship between community-based identification and well-being, resilience and willingness to pay back in the context of urban regeneration. A sample of 104 residents across five deprived urban areas in the southwest of England that have recently undergone or are about to undergo regeneration projects completed a survey. The results demonstrate that areas where a more community-centred, bottom-up, approach to regeneration was taken (i.e., ‘culture-led’) showed higher levels of community cohesion than areas where the community dynamics were ignored (i.e., a ‘top-down’ approach to regeneration). Increased community identification was linked to greater perceived social support, community-esteem, personal self-esteem and self-efficacy. These psychological processes were, in turn, linked to increased resilience and well-being, as well as a stronger willingness to pay back to the community. The results are consistent with the social identity approach. Implications for urban regeneration strategies are discussed.

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