Comparing Social Capital and Spatial Use Patterns in Three Hamilton Census Tracts

Submitted by Milton Friesen on December 13, 2016 - 7:40am

Paper written by author and thought leader, Milton Friesen at the Univeristy of Waterloo (Ph.D. Candidate and Adjunct Lecturer) in the School of Planning. This paper was presented at the Computational Social Sciences Society of the America's in Santa Fe in November 2016.


The Social Imaging Study uses a new social capital measurement instrument (Social Capital General Social Survey – SCGSS) developed for neighbourhood level measurement of social network and trust levels. This instrument is paired with Global Positioning System data to measure spatial behaviour of a random sample of participants across three East Hamilton Census Tracts differentiated by income – median and a standard deviation above and below the median for adults aged 18-64 years. The spatial statistics of the GPS data is analyzed and summarized for comparison with the SCGSS data to determine if the hypothesis that greater movement correlates with higher levels of social capital. Early results show some statistical significance for the income and marital status dependent variables interacting with Nearest Neighbour Z-scores and the Directional Rotation of the spatial ellipsis across all three Census Tracts. There is also significant interaction between Census Tract pairs on the mode of contact with relatives and number of acquaintances dependent variables and range of independent spatial variables. Finally, there are single Census Tract interactions between the dependent variables of trust in city officals and frequency of contact with close friends and three different independent spatial variables.