Come out and play: public space recovery, social capital and citizen security

Francisco Gallego, scientific director of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Latin America and Caribbean and professor of economics at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Matías Braun, professor at Universidad de los Andes' ESE Business School and Rodrigo Soares, J-PAL affiliated professor at Columbia University, published a discussion paper with IZA Institute of Labor Economics titled, 'Come out and play: public space recovery, social capital and citizen security.'

The paper examines the impact of renovating neglected public spaces on socioeconomic outcomes of a local population based on a randomised evaluation of 28 vulnerable neighbourhoods in Santiago, Chile. The authors find that the renovations resulted in increased use and maintenance of the local squares, and improved neighbourhood engagement and sentiment of ownership among residents. Additionally, the findings suggest that residents in treated neighbourhoods engage in reduced leisure activity outside of their neighbourhoods and stronger participation in local community organisations. Moreover, treated neighbourhoods experience enhanced sense of public security both within the public spaces as well as the broader neighbourhood.


IZA Institute of Labor Economics