Which Came First, Neighbourhood or Community? —Community Construction in a Self-Built Neighbourhood

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The interest in changing social ties in urban neighbourhoods has generated sociological debate for decades. This paper contributes to this debate by focusing on the relationship between community and neighbourhood formation in the development of an informal settlement. While informal urbanisation is widely
researched, the attention is usually placed on urban planning and development rather than a socio-spatial aspect. Drawing on an ethnographic case study, this paper analyses the transformation of agricultural land to urban settlement following residents’ self-organisation in Mexico City. The case study shows how social ties developed alongside collaboration between residents, highlighting a relationship between the social and spatial processes. Collaborative processes from small neighbour groups to broader neighbourhood-wide projects that contributed to the delivery of basic services and urban infrastructure also enabled the formation of community support networks. The findings highlight the intertwined nature of community and neighbourhood formation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-78
Number of pages14
JournalPolish Sociological Review
Issue number1
Early online date21 Mar 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022, Polish Sociological Association. All rights reserved.


  • Community formation
  • neighbourhood
  • case study
  • self-build urbanisation
  • Mexico City


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