I read in the newspaper that ethnically mixed neighbourhoods have lower levels of trust in general. This was already proven by a research by Putnam in 2007. Dronkers and Lancee repeated the research in the Netherlands and reached the same conclusion. BUT the inter-ethnical level of trust in heterogeneous neighbourhoods is higher than in the others. Which is kind-of logical: when you meet people from other ethnic groups you are likely to see that they can be kind and friendly too. In the homogeneous neighbourhoods, the social trust is higher, but the image of different ethnic groups can be very negative.
It sounds like a description of my old and new neighbourhood! I moved last year from a homogeneous village to a mix area of the Hague.
What really triggered me to blog about it was the coining of two terms: bonding social capital and bridging social capital. I recently attended a ecollaboration meeting where the people with developer skills were in the lead because of the topic chosen for the meeting: open source. As non-developer I could see how interesting it was for them to connect. On the other hand, if you don't pay attention, you get a reinforcing loop towards the developers side of the domain of ecollaboration. It was suddenly very obvious to me that the role of a facilitator of a community of multidisciplinary practice includes balancing the bonding and bridging social capital. Try to make sure that there is enough space for bonding between the disciplines, but include sufficient bridging capital. That sounds quite abstract, but I think it means being aware of the member who play a bridging role and enabling them to continue to play the bridging role. At times this may not need any intervention, at times, this may need some attention.
Secondly, since we facilitated the community of practice with a group of four non-developers, it might have been easy to overlook the needs of developers to connect and discuss at their level of interest. So whenever possible, try to have a balanced core group too.