This report is based on research in Surbiton looking the ways that local social infrastructure supports communities, and underpins social integration. It is based on interviews carried out in winter 2019-20, before the COVID-19 lockdown, and in May and June 2020, exploring how social infrastructure was supporting Surbiton's communities during this difficult time.
The report described the richness of social infrastructure in Surbiton, from social spaces like the Lamb and the Press Room cafe, to more formal spaces like the YMCA and the Library, and the important role of community activists in maintaining local networks.
Social infrastructure – which includes many different facilities, spaces and places – is London’s social glue. When we meet our friends in a cafe, go to a class at a community centre, take part in a tenants’ and residents’ association or a park friends’ group, go to the library for information or get help and advice from people within our community, we are using the city’s social infrastructure to support and enrich our lives.
This is part of a wider research inquiry, carried out with Hawkins\Brown, commissioned by the Mayor of London as part of the Good Growth by Design programme. The inquiry explored how social infrastructure supports social integration, with in-depth work in three contrasting areas: Catford, Homerton and Surbtion.