Social Capital: Waban, MA

pianoman A Waban resident plays an outdoor piano

Social Capital: Waban, MA

One of the elements of sociocultural milieu measuring social capital is the use of a neighborhood library by the residents (Green & Haines, 2015). Waban scores high on the use of this neighborhood facility to bring residents together socially. Waban population is comprised of 10.9% of children age 9 and under (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014) Social capital is shaped by activities around children and families. The Waban Library has weekly gatherings for Family Game Nights, Parent Coaching Workshops, the Children’s Book Club and the Adult Book Club. The Waban Library also takes part in Newton Arts Week. During Arts Week, the city of Newton organized the Artful Piano Series placing outdoor pianos in eleven locations in Newton. The Waban Library was selected as a site. Residents of all skill levels loved playing the piano as residents gather and sing together spontaneously.

Community Based Organization: Waban Council

The Waban Council plays a critical role in creating the opportunities to strengthen bonds between the residents. This local organization sponsors Sing Out Newton! a community singalong which brings out residents of all ages. The Council also organizes the annual progressive dinners. This year will be the twelfth year that Waban residents are grouped to enjoy progressive dinners at volunteer homes. The Council also started the Waban Mother’s Group that brings mothers together for activities and speakers about parenting issues. The Council also strives to establish a “common vision” of development. The Council has organized meetings with the Newton Planning Board to address resident concerns about over development and traffic issues. Waban residents seem to bond quickly over these issues and are moved to organize committees to attack these problems head on.

Reference List

Green, Gary P., Haines, Anna. Asset Building and Community Development. Sage: LA, 2015.

U.S. Census Bureau, 2014