Norms, sense of community an d neighborhood collectivism in a high-rise setting

Translated title of the contribution: Normas, sentido de comunidad y colectivismo comunal en un contexto de edificios en altura

Yung YAU*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

11 Citations (Scopus)


Residents' willingness to intervene is a crucial determinant of the livability of their neighborhoods. In high-rise cities, the ownership arrangements of most private housing necessitate collectivism among residents in many neighborhood affairs. Mancur Olson's seminal free-rider theorem suggests unless being profitable for every single participant, collective action will neither be initiated nor sustained. In real life, however, many residents in high-rise neighborhoods do actively engage in collective actions, which call for an explanation for this observed deviation from the theoretical prediction. With an aim to understand why some residents are willing to participate and others are not, this study analyses the findings from a structured survey on private housing residents in Hong Kong. While the collective interest model serves as a theoretical starting point for this study of resident participation in neighborhood affairs, particular foci are put on the importance of norms and sense of community on neighborhood collectivism. Given the recurrent nature of the realization of public goods for a neighborhood (e.g., environmental cleanliness and public safety), residents are thought to participate in repetitive 'games of collective action'. As suggested by some game theorists, social norms play an important role in shaping collective behavior of individuals, particularly in repeated games. The analysis results indicate that apart from the oft-cited selective benefits and costs, social norms and sense of community are important determinants of neighborhood collectivism in high-rise housing in Hong Kong. The research findings bear far-reaching policy and practical implications about the housing and neighborhood governance in many high-rise cities.

Translated title of the contributionNormas, sentido de comunidad y colectivismo comunal en un contexto de edificios en altura
Original languageMultiple languages
Pages (from-to)17-72
Number of pages56
JournalRevista INVI
Issue number76
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Collective action
  • Collective interest model
  • Neighborhood governance
  • Sense of community
  • Social norms


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