Current debates on urban poverty raise two main research questions, on the role of organizations and social services on enlarging social capital, as well as on the effects of segregation on personal networks of the poor. The book of Eduardo Marques (2012) on Sao Paulo analyses 239 personal networks to answer to these questions. It shows that the relation between spatial segregation and personal network is not linear, and that personal networks of the poor can vary, with different extension and many type of sphere of sociability. Networks characterised by strong homophily and higher localism, and sociability based on family and neighbourhood ties, present worse social condition as they tend to restrict access to material and immaterial goods and services. The empirical inquiry on urban poverty in Sao Paulo opens up a broader reflection on the comparisons among cities of the North and the South, as well as on the heuristic of explanations based on relational mechanisms (i.e.: the economies of ties, or the association between trust and homophily).
Keywords: Urban Inequality, Segregation, Urban Sociology, Social Capital, Network Analysis, Poverty.