• Communities and neighbourhoods

      Vaandrager, Lenneke; Kennedy, Lynne; Wageningen University and University of Chester (Springer, 2016-09-07)
      Summary There is growing consensus that the places where people live and the various social processes, relationships and psycho-social concepts associated with strong healthy communities and neighbourhoods make an important contribution to health. Where you live makes a considerable difference; people living in more affluent communities for example are more likely to experience better self-reported health and wellbeing. This is particularly evident in current theoretical and policy debates concerning the salutogenic and so-called strength or assets based approach to health; healthy communities have various social and physical resources available, which if they can recognise, share and utilise, can result in stronger SOC, increasing their ability to cope and thrive. Within health promotion we actively encourage communities to organise themselves for better health and well-being. The concept of ‘community’ is both complex and subjective and difficult to define. So we start by conceptualising the definitions, dimensions and meanings of community – beyond a physical location - underpinning this chapter. There are several ideas linking the community or neighbourhood as a setting, including community as a place to live, connectedness (social capital) and social action (the development of a strong SOC). The evidence is variable in quality and furthermore, few studies explicitly apply the theory of salutogenesis when they study health and wellbeing in the community context. The body of this chapter is devoted therefore to summarising the available research about salutogenic and asset-based community interventions, drawing upon examples from empirical work. In doing so, we will highlight debates emerging around the concepts of a salutogenic framework and health assets in relation to community and neighbourhood. As such, we are specifically interested in examining the resources (and/or assets) of communities and neighbourhoods and the associated processes enabling these resources to be accessed for the benefit of the community’s health and wellbeing.