'Social sustainability means maintaining social capital. It lowers the cost of working together and facilitates cooperation. Trust lowers transaction costs, for example. This can be achieved only by systematic community participation and strong civil society, including government. Cohesion of community, connectedness between groups of people, reciprocity, tolerance, compassion, patience, forbearance, fellowship, love, commonly accepted standards of honesty and ethics. Commonly shared rules, laws, discipline, etc., constitute the part of social capital least subject to rigorous measurement, but essential for social sustainability. Social (sometimes called 'moral') capital requires maintenance and replenishment by shared values and equal rights, and by community, religious and cultural interactions. Without such care it depreciates as surely as does physical capital. The creation and maintenance of social capital, as needed for social sustainability, is not yet adequately recognized â€¦' (http://www2.worldbank.org/hm/e-sust/0039.html).
The networks of relationships among persons, firms, and institutions in a society, together with associated norms of behavior, trust, cooperation, etc., that enable a society to function effectively.
According to the OECD: 'networks together with shared norms, values and understandings that facilitate cooperation within or among groups' (OECD, 2001:41). (About social capital and government policies, see http://www.statistics.gov.uk/socialcapital/; and visit the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development at www.oecd.org/).