Whilst there exists a voluminous literature on both mixed communities and community cohesionrespectively, writing on the links between the two is still in its infancy. This is partly a result of therelatively recent emergence of community cohesion as a concept in the lexicon of policymakers. The joint action plan on Community Cohesion between the Office of the Deputy PrimeMinister and Home Office recognised this fact, stating “that community cohesion - andparticularly its relationship to housing- is a developing area” (ODPM, 2005). Since then therehas been some change but, as recently as 2007, the Academy for Sustainable Communitiescould still write that “there is limited practical guidance about the way in which areas can beeffectively planned to be attractive to all communities and to ensure that separation andsegregation along ethnic lines is minimised” (Academy for Sustainable Communities, p.27).Whilst there is little literature on the links between the two concepts there is a striking symmetrybetween the two discourses in their focus on the importance of contact between different typesof people. In both fields there are those who argue that homogenous communities, defined ineither cultural or income terms, have a negative impact on their inhabitants. They go on to arguethat the appropriate response from government should be to create more diverse communities,again either in income or cultural terms. The effect of this diversity, they argue, will reverse thenegative impacts caused by the previously homogenous communities. This reversal will beachieved through the generation of greater social capital, specifically bridging capital.There is not a single one of these assertions which has not gone unchallenged. Academicshave argued that the negative impacts of homogenous communities are unproven or exaggerated. They have also argued that creating more diverse communities will not solve thehighlighted problems as more heterogeneous communities do not create more bridging capital.Finally, they argue that real solutions can only be found in broader societal, rather than local,policies.This literature review will acquaint the reader with these debates. After defining our terms, thefirst section will focus on the supposed negative effects of homogenous communities as well ascriticisms of these positions. Whilst not wanting to argue that neighbourhoods are the major or primary cause of negative life outcomes, such as unemployment or low income, I will concludethat they can have a significant effect, for example through creating stigma. The second sectionwill focus on the appropriate government response to these problems. Again, I will maintain thatthe optimal response to problems such as a lack of a sense of belonging will include societywide reforms such as action to promote equal opportunities. However, there remains a role for more localised action at the neighbourhood level, such as mixed communities initiatives.
Finally,a series of specific and, as yet, untested hypothesis around the ability of mixed communities topromote community cohesion, will be elucidated from the literature. These hypotheses will thenbe put to the test in the case study.