Relations between Community-Based Infrastructure Development and Squatters’ Social Capital: A Case Study of a Bulk Water System in Metro Manila, the Philippines

By Petr Matous and Kazumasa Ozawa.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The urban poor suffer from social exclusion as well as lack of access to basic services such as water supply. One water provider in Metro Manila, the Philippines, has reportedly connected to the pipe system over 850 000 low-income individuals within the last nine years. That was achieved by providing so called bulk connections to community organizations, which in turn distribute the water and collect the tariffs within their area. The provider claims that the system ‘builds communities’ by stimulating consumers’ active participation. In this paper, we investigate the reported social benefits in terms of social capital, defined as resources embedded in social networks. We measured by a locally adjusted Position Generator individual social capital of 93 respondents from one selected community. Increase in respondents' social capital by water supply implementation was measured by Name Generating of their new friends and acquaintances and their occupations. For comparison, the impact of other types of infrastructure was also evaluated. Expressive social capital was estimated by access to common occupations in this low-income area; instrumental social capital was estimated by access to other occupations. We have found that 89% of the respondents did not participate in the selected bulk system, socialization was not induced and social capital was not created. Consumers with better access sell water to the others. The bulk system is disadvantageous especially to those with the least social capital, who are at the end of the water chain and pay the highest unit cost. Footbridge and road construction projects, on the other hand, were participatory. Social capital was thus created, but again the better off benefited most in terms of the instrumental social capital increase.

Keywords: Water Supply Distribution, Bulk Supply, Individual Social Capital, Social Capital Measurement, Position Generator, Community-based Infrastructure Development, Squatters

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.179-192. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 822.552KB).

PhD Petr Matous

The University of Tokyo, Japan

Prof. Kazumasa Ozawa

The University of Tokyo, Japan


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