Health and Wellbeing Impacts Associated With Active Participation In Community Gardens, In The Context Of Sustainable Development
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Interest in the concept of ‘wellbeing’ is gaining prominence among academic researchers, policy makers and planning bodies within the UK and internationally. This emerging agenda is often in the context of efforts to promote sustainable communities through environmental initiatives, such as community gardening, which aim to link communal activities with individualised lifestyle preferences and behaviours. This thesis explores the ways in which health, wellbeing and social development are intricately implicated in sustainable living initiatives, and how such initiatives can be applied to enhance health, wellbeing and social development at both individual and community levels through exposure to greenspace in the form of community gardens. This thesis takes an ethnographic approach into the study of community gardens in areas of social disadvantage in Plymouth. Findings provide empirical evidence showing that active participation in the community gardens result in health, wellbeing and social development impacts for individual participants directly involved within the garden. Findings at the community level were more mixed, providing insights into barriers to exclusion and inequalities in and across communities within the study area. The results of this thesis provide a greater appreciation of how sustainable living initiatives can provide social and economic opportunities which can promote health and wellbeing for individuals and communities and contribute towards sustainable design of urban areas with the use of green infrastructure. Stemming from these results is the call for increased collaboration between public health officials and spatial planners to incorporate and utilise green space community initiatives in urban areas to enable health and wellbeing impacts to become realised and sustained at an individual and community level.
PhD in Geography