Hidden impacts? Externalities of social capital creation in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

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Social capital is a concept that is increasingly used by policy makers to help marginalized populations. A lack of consensus around the definition of social capital has led to its use in a variety of forms without adequate understanding. In particular, the local externalities and broader impacts of social capital and its creation are not well understood. This paper analyses the local externalities of social capital creation from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Street Market. Using a mixed-method research strategy, qualitative and quantitative data was collected through surveys conducted on market vendors and local businesses to understand how both groups interact with and perceive the Market. The research finds that for the majority of businesses, the Market and its social capital have little to no impact on their operations. As well, businesses that have pre-existing negative opinions of crime in the neighbourhood, as well as limited knowledge of the Market, are more likely to oppose the Market’s operation.
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