Could this just be coincidence? Research carried out for Regeneration & renewal by Experian, reported here, shows that '71 per cent of riots occurred in local authority districts ranked in the bottom 10 per cent for social cohesion.'
In most of the areas people who have been trying to make a difference will be disheartened by conclusions like this, although my recollection of the Experian Mosaic system is that it is surprisingly specific.
According to the article, we're talking about
'some of the most disconnected communities in the country'.
That's 'disconnected' in terms of local social relations; maybe not in terms of the reportedly heavy use of Blackberry Messenger by a small proportion. And probably not at all connected in terms of the kinds of social capital we know can be generated by online neighbourhood networks.
Say, here's an idea. Why don't we invent some shared ways of bringing people together at local level to stimulate cohesion and involvement, and help people to influence the decision-making processes that affect them? We could call it, oh I don't know, something like 'community development', how does that sound?
It could be exactly the sort of thing the government would be interested in supporting, especially since it's a lot less expensive than having disconnected communities.