This article identifies an opportunity to reinvigorate our theoretical understanding of community well-being at the neighbourhood scale as increasing numbers of cities around the world turn their attention to neighbourhood scale redevelopment of model sustainable communities. We identify three primary theoretical axes for this reinvention of the notion of the neighbourhood scale community, all oriented toward a philosophical approach derived from American pragmatism. First is the reorientation of older ideas of the political project of building the Great Society toward an alternative project of building the Great Community, via the work of “commoning,” which respects the value of diversity, democratic participation and communication. Second is the work of not merely placemaking but also politically constituting the public sphere within public spaces at the neighbourhood scale. Third and finally is the reinvention of our theories of social and political engagement in the public sphere as not only serving representative democratic process, nor distinguishing simply between classes of active versus inactive participants in public life, but as identifying the actual regimes of engagement directing and mediating participation in the neighbourhood community sphere.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adger, W. N., & Jordan, A. (Eds.). (2009). Governing sustainability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Agrawal, A. (2002). Common resources and institutional sustainability. In E.Ostrom (Ed.), The Drama of the Commons, 41–86. Washington: National Academy Press.
Agyeman, J., & Evans, T. (2003). Toward just sustainability in urban communities: building equity rights with sustainable solutions. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 590(1), 35–53.
Ahmed, S. (2010). The promise of happiness. Chapel Hill: Duke University Press.
Amin, A. (2008). Collective culture and urban public space. City, 12(1), 5–24.
Barcelona Urban Ecology Agency. (2015). Conceptual model: Superblocks. http://bcnecologia.net/en/conceptual-model/superblocks. Accessed 31 Aug 2015.
Barrington-Leigh, C. (2017). Sustainability and well-being: a happy synergy. Great transition initiative. Online http://well-being.ihsp.mcgill.ca/publications/Barrington-Leigh-GTI2017-Sustainability-and-Well-Being.pdf. Accessed 15 May 2017.
Blok, A. (2012). Greening cosmopolitan urbanism? On the transnational mobility of low-carbon formats in northern European and east Asian cities. Environment and Planning A, 44(10), 2327–2343.
Blokker, P., & Brighenti, A. (2011). An interview with Laurent Thévenot: on engagement, critique, commonality, and power. European Journal of Social Theory, 14(3), 383–400.
Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso.
Boltanski, L., & Thévenot, L. (2006). On justification: Economies of worth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Bresnihan, P., & Byrne, M. (2015). Escape into the city: everyday practices of commoning in the production of urban space in Dublin. Antipode, 47(1), 36–54.
Chatterton, P. (2010). Seeking the urban common. City, 14(6), 625–628.
Cuthill, M. (2010). Strengthening the ‘social’ in sustainable development: developing a conceptual framework for social sustainability in a rapid growth urban region in Australia. Sustainable Development, 18, 362–373.
Davies, W. (2012). The emerging neocommunitarianism. The Political Quarterly, 83(4), 767–776.
De Angelis, M. (2007). The beginning of history: Value struggles and global capital. London: Pluto Press.
De Angelis, M. (2012). Crises, capital and cooptation: Does capital need a commons fix? In D. Bollier & S. Helfrich (Eds.), The wealth of the commons: A world beyond market and state. Amherst: Levellers Press.
Dewey, J. (1927). The public and its problems. New York: Henry Holt & Co..
Diez Roux, A. V., & Mair, C. (2010). Neighborhoods and health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1186, 125–145.
EcoDistricts. (2014). Policy framework for local governments. Portland: EcoDistricts.
El Din, H. S., Shalaby, A., Farouh, H. E., & Elariane, S. A. (2013). Principles of urban quality of life for a neighborhood. Housing and Building National Research Center Journal, 9(1), 86–92.
Etzioni, A. (1994). The spirit of community: The reinvention of American society. New York: Touchstone.
Fainstein, S. (2005). Cities and diversity: should we want it? Can we plan for it? Urban Affairs Review, 41(1), 3–19.
Fournier, V. (2013). Commoning: on the social organisation of the commons. Management, 16(4), 433–453.
Frank, L.D., Kerr, J.K., Rosenberg, D., & King, A. (2010). Healthy aging and where you live: community design relationships with physical activity and body weight in older Americans. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 7(Suppl.1), S82–S90.
Gans, H. (1968). People and plans: Essays on urban problems and solutions. New York: Basic Books.
Gardiner, M. (2004). Everyday utopianism: Lefebvre and his critics. Cultural Studies, 18(2-3), 228–254.
Gibson-Graham, J. K. (2006). A postcapitalist politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Gilroy, R. (2012). Well-being and the neighbourhood: Promoting choice and independence. In S. Atkinson, S. Fuller, & J. Painter (Eds.), Well-being and place (pp. 73–88). Burlington: Ashgate.
Gilroy, R. & Booth, C. (1999). Building an infrastructure for everyday lives. European Planning Studies, 7(3), 307–324.
Graham, S., & Marvin, S. (2001). Splintering urbanism: Networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. New York: Routledge.
Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the prison notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. New York: International Publishers.
Groth, J., & Corgin, E. (2005). Reclaiming urbanity: indeterminate spaces, informal actors and urban agenda setting. Urban Studies, 42(3), 503–526.
Harvey, D. (2008). The right to the city. New Left Review, 53(Sept/Oct), 23–40.
Hirsch, J. A., Moore, K. A., Barrientos-Gutierrez, T., Brines, S. J., Zagorski, M. A., Rodriguez, D. A., & Diez Roux, A. V. (2014). Built environment change and change in BMI and waist circumference multi-ethnic study of artherosclerosis. Obesity, 11, 2450–2457.
Holden, M., Li, C., & Molina, A. (2015). The emergence and spread of ecourban neighbourhoods around the world. Sustainability, 7(9), 11418–11437.
Holden, M., Li, C., Molina, A., & Sturgeon, D. (2017). Crafting new urban assemblages and steering neighborhood transition: actors and roles in ecourban neighborhood development. Articulo Journal of Urban Research, 14.
Jacobs, J. (1961). The death and life of great American cities. New York: Doubleday.
Jarvis, H. (2011). Saving space, sharing time: integrated infrastructures of daily life in cohousing. Environment and Planning A, 43(3), 560–577.
Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C., & Vasudevan, A. (2012). Rethinking enclosure: space, subjectivity and the commons. Antipode, 44(4), 1247–1267.
Joseph, M. (2002). Against the romance of community. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Linebaugh, P. (2008). The magna carta manifesto. Liberties and commons for all. London: Verso.
Lippman, W. (1922). Public opinion. Harcourt. New York: Brace.
Massey, D. (2005). For space. London: Sage.
Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pagano, M. A. (Ed.). (2015). Return of the neighborhood as an urban strategy. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Perry, C. A. (1939). Housing for the machine age. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Petrescu, D., Petcou, C., & Baibarac, C. (2016). Co-producing commons-based resilience lessons from R-urban. Building Research and Information, 44(7), 717–736.
Project for Public Spaces. (2015). Our approach. http://www.pps.org/about/. Accessed 31 Aug 2015.
Rose, N. (1996). The death of the social? Re-figuring the territory of government. Economy and Society, 25(3), 327–356.
Seyfang, G., & Smith, A. (2007). Grassroots innovations for sustainable development: towards a new research and policy agenda. Environmental Politics, 16(4), 584–603.
Soja, E. (1996). Thirdspace. Malden: Blackwell.
Talen, E. (2008). Design for diversity: Exploring socially mixed neighborhoods. London: Architectural Press (Elsevier).
Tonkiss, F. (2013). Austerity urbanism and the makeshift city. City, 17(3), 312–324.
Tonnies, F. (1887). In: C. P. Loomis (Ed., transl), Community and society: Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (pp. 223–231). Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
UK Urban Task Force. (1999). Towards an urban renaissance. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
Walzer, M. (1986). Pleasures and costs of urbanity. In P. Kasinitz (Ed.), Metropolis: Center and symbol of our times (pp. 320–330). New York: New York University Press.
World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Young, I. M. (1990). Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2013S1A3A2054622) and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, through Insight Grant 435-2014-0465. The author also gratefully acknowledges the feedback received on an earlier draft from other participants at the 4th International Forum on Community Well-being in Brisbane, Australia, and the research assistance of Ana Molina.
About this article
Cite this article
Holden, M. Community Well-Being in Neighbourhoods: Achieving Community and Open-Minded Space through Engagement in Neighbourhoods. Int. Journal of Com. WB 1, 45–61 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42413-018-0005-1
- Public interest
- Community well-being