The Simultaneous Effect of Social Distance and Physical Distance on the Formation of Neighborhood Ties


*Correspondence should be addressed to John R. Hipp, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California, Irvine, 2367 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697;


Prior studies have separately suggested the importance of physical distance or social distance effects for the creation of neighborhood ties. This project adopts a case study approach and simultaneously tests for propinquity and homophily effects on neighborhood ties by employing a full-network sample from a recently developed New Urbanist neighborhood within a mid-sized southern city. The authors find that physical distance reduces the likelihood of weak or strong ties forming, suggesting the importance of accounting for propinquity when estimating social tie formation. The authors simultaneously find that social distance along wealth reduces the likelihood of weak ties forming. Social distance on life course markers—age, marital status, and the presence of children—reduces the formation of weak ties. Consistent with the systemic model, each additional month of shared residence in the neighborhood increases both weak and strong ties. An important innovation is this study's ability to directly compare the effects of physical distance and social distance, placing them into equivalent units: a 10 percent increase in home value difference is equivalent to a 5.6 percent increase in physical distance.