problems and deal with common stressors. Putnam developed the notion of social capital further in his later work, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community(Putnam, 2000), in which he explores how and why Americans have become disconnected from one another and how social structures and institutions have atrophied. He concludes that social capital is best built by a dense network of voluntary organizations and widespread public participation in them.

The concept of social capital has been broadened by including it in a larger framework that also includes natural capital, human capital, and financial capital. The framework has been used by development agencies, such as the United Kingdom’s Department for Inter­national Development, to assess a country’s development potential and its actual or ­potential vulnerability to stresses and perturbations. Social capital has been described as the foundation for community adaptation (see, e.g., Norris et al., 2008; NRC, 2011a) with “the formation of effective and productive social networks as the key element in [its] development” (NRC, 2011a; p. 106). Social capital and therefore community resilience could be enhanced via

•  dense community social networks that build communication and social interactions in a community or among people and organizations that have a common interest;

•  widespread voluntary organizations that afford community members opportunities for participation and collaboration;

•  development of community members’ skills in negotiation, compromise, and leader­ship as a result of participation in voluntary organizations and social networks;

•  widespread access to and use of social media;

•  development of a network of private and public partnerships in the community.

The development of social capital, in turn, fosters higher social trust in the community, unquestionably a valued resource for effective risk management and decision making with respect to dam and levee safety. Chapter 4 provides a comprehensive discussion of how it is applied specifically to the dam and levee safety community.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement