Anti-social behaviour management: A communitarian approach

Yung YAU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


A growing number of researchers and policy-makers concern themselves with the effectiveness of different approaches to anti-social behaviour (ASB) management. However, commonly used approach like statutory orders (e.g. ASB or injunction orders), tenancy arrangements (e.g. tenancy termination or probationary tenancy) and outreaching (e.g. home visits and counselling) have been criticised for their short-term effects Therefore, a new direction for ASB management has to be sought. Given that a pleasant and nuisance-free neighbourhood is a collective good to its residents, its creation necessitates residents' cooperation. In this regard, ASB problem can in theory be alleviated through a communitarian means. It has been proven that collective actions are more likely to occur if members in a group have stronger social ties and mutual trust. Therefore, neighbourhood attachment or sense of community can potentially mediate the social disorder in a neighbourhood. In this light, due consideration should be given to community re-creation which can foster informal social control of ASB within a neighbourhood. Drawing on the findings of two questionnaire surveys done on public and private housing residents in Hong Kong, this study reveals a significant and negative correlation between residents' perceived levels of ASB seriousness and sense of community in their residential neighbourhoods. This negative association holds for both private and public housing. The analysis results uphold the feasibility of the communitarian approach in managing ASB. Policy implications of the research findings are then discussed, and an agenda for future studies on the empirical outcomes of this approach is outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work described in this paper was fully supported by a grant from City University of Hong Kong (Project No. 9610143). The author would also like to express gratitude to the scholars in the Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Adelaide and the School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham for their supports and valuable advice which are essential for the formulation of this research.


  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Communitarianism
  • Community re-creation
  • Sense of community
  • Social control


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