Social well-being and environmental governance in urban neighbourhoods in Boston, MA
Well-being is an holistic concept that examines individuals in their social, economic, and environmental contexts. In geographical settings where social deprivation is common, civil society organisations (CSOs) represent important actors in environmental governance, which refers to the suite of actions and discourses shaping environmental conditions or resources. These CSOs operate in neoliberal governance frameworks in which they act as formal partners of city governments in providing public services. In this study, we seek to shed light on the role of social interventions and environmental governance in promoting well-being. We examine the social, political, and economic dimensions of environmental governance and social well-being in urban neighbourhoods. We employ a relational place perspective to widen the analytical focus from the immediate boundaries of urban neighbourhoods towards larger social, political, and economic influences. This study describes exploratory focus groups with urban neighbourhood-based CSOs working to improve urban neighbourhoods in Boston, MA in order to identify key social processes that may affect environmental outcomes in urban neighbourhoods. Focus groups examined relationships between neighbourhood well-being and environmental perception, especially of urban land and water resources. We identify four critical factors shaping senses of well-being among neighbourhood residents active in CSOs: stewardship; political and economic control; safety; and familiarity and social control.
Foo, Katherine; Martin, Deborah; Polsky, Colin; Wool, Clara; and Ziemer, Martha, "Social well-being and environmental governance in urban neighbourhoods in Boston, MA" (2015). Geography. 348.