Does this mean that we aren’t interested in environmental issues or in physical health of the residents of these communities? Far from it! In fact, we are convinced that by working to improve social relationships, we are actually also working to improve physical health and the ability to address environmental issues.
Of course, communities that can mobilize are better able to respond to unwanted development or depletion of natural resources. (2.1) Beyond that, resiliency is the ability for a community to react to a disturbance: environmental, social, or economic. This is a very important metric for communities in the face of the unpredictable natural and human climate changes of 21st century. Certainly, improved communication improves resiliency, as neighbors rely more on each other and less on outside help. (2.2)
There are also lots of initiatives to tackle increasing poor health, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles. Could these issues be related to relationships? (2.3) If you are spending more time in your house, are you spending less time learning to understand your neighbor’s difference or the importance of your local environment, and spending more time on your couch? Some studies have found that obesity may lead to social marginalization (2.4)... perhaps it works both ways.
Do you see any other connections? Want to comment on these?
Let us know in the comments!
-- Cyndy Carlson, PE, PhD
(2.1) Ratner, B. D., Center, W., Halpern, G., & Kosal, M. (2011). Catalyzing collective action to address natural resource conflict (No. 103). CAPRi Working Paper.
(2.2) Folke, C., Carpenter, S., Elmqvist, T., Gunderson, L., Holling, C. S., & Walker, B. (2002). Resilience and sustainable development: building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations. AMBIO: A journal of the human environment, 31(5), 437-440.
(2.3) Jung, M., Bigman-Galimore, C. A., & Viswanath, K. (2014). Contextual effects of community mobilization and communication capacity as a positive factor for self-rated health status: a multi-level analysis. International journal of public health, 59(2), 289-299.
(2.4) Apolloni, A., Marathe, A., & Pan, Z. (2011). A longitudinal view of the relationship between social marginalization and obesity. In Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction (pp. 61-68). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.