Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Matthew Davis, Ph.D.


Thomasina Hassler, Ph.D.

Candice Carter-Oliver, Ph.D.



The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of social capital on the phenomenon of community sustainability in Meacham Park Missouri, a Black neighborhood located in south St. Louis county. It is believed that social capital influences the collective action needed to create structures which lead to economic growth essential to community sustainability (Farrell, 2007, Ginwright, 2015; Putnam, 1993). The core idea of Robert Putnam’s social capital theory is there is value in social networks (Putnam, 2000, 1993). Examined were experiences of current and past residents of Meacham Park using social capital constructs to analyze the significance of collective activism on community sustainability. Also, included was an examination of Putnam’s bridging and bonding social capital. This study used the qualitative research approach to examine the influence of collective activism on policy decisions relating to the 1992 annexation of Meacham Park. The data from interviews, videotapes/pictures and document analysis were triangulated to validate conclusions (Berg, 2009). The examination used four major constructs based on Putnam’s Social Capital Instrument (SCI): (1) civic engagement; (2) interpersonal trust; (3) economic security and welfare; and (4) confidence in government. The SCI is a comprehensive tool that is used to measure social capital in small and medium-size communities (van Kemenade, 2003). An examination of data revealed Kirkwood’s strategic approach to dismantle economic and social structures through public policies. These tactics significantly impacted the ability of the Meacham Park residents to sustain a substantial portion of the community (Putnam, 1993; Berg, 2009; Randall, 2016).