This thesis explores the way that sport can be used as a component of effective practice of neighbourhood regeneration. In particular, the thesis examines how and to what extent projects using sport for the purpose of engaging with young people affected by the deprivation of a neighbourhood can add to regenerating the area.
The last decade has seen the shift of focus in British urban regeneration policy from physical renewal and economic development to tackling social and community-related matters concentrated in deprived neighbourhoods, such as unemployment, low income, low skills, poor housing, high crime rates, and poor health – in short, social exclusion.
Young people who live in these neighbourhoods are greatly disadvantaged in respect both of their well-being at the present time and of their transition into adulthood. Use of sport for the purpose of alleviating these disadvantages is increasingly popular, although conclusive evidence of social benefits of sport participation has been lacking.
The thesis identifies four sets of hypotheses that represent how sport may enhance the process of social inclusion; namely, personal development, diversion, social interaction/social networks, and the salience of sport. The normative and analytical framework is developed based on Amartya Sen’s ‘capability’ perspective so as to re-define the goal of neighbourhood regeneration, against which sport-related regeneration projects can be assessed their contribution.
An in-depth qualitative case study, based on grounded theory, was carried out in deprived neighbourhoods in the East End of Glasgow.
Main findings include:
(1) young people in the area were trapped into the vicious circles of leisure deprivation, territoriality, and poor transition into adulthood;
(2) the process of tackling youth-related problems in deprived areas can be represented with the analogies of ‘hooking’ and ‘signposting’;
(3) a successful structure of a sport-related regeneration project can be represented by a ‘pyramid’, founded on financial sustainability nested in robust organisational base;
(4) a project can enlarge its organisational base through a repeated process of ‘ownership’ and ‘evolution’, represented by an expanding ‘spiral’; and
(5) sport-related projects are often too small to reach the majority of the ‘excluded’.
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Reference : Suzuki, N. (2007). Sport and neighbourhood regeneration: exploring the mechanisms of social inclusion through sport. PhD Thesis. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Available from http://theses.gla.ac.uk/27/01/2007suzukiphd.pdf
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