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Opportunity structures: urban landscape, social capital and health promotion in Australia’


Baum, F and Palmer, C, Opportunity structures: urban landscape, social capital and health promotion in Australia', Health Promotion International, 17, (40) pp. 351-361. ISSN 0957-4824 (2002) [Refereed Article]


This paper presents data from 40 in-depth interviews that were conducted as part of a study of social capital and health in relation to people’s perceptions of the influence of ‘place’ on their participation levels and health. These data were used to examine features of the western suburbs of Adelaide that were perceived as health damaging and health promoting. The paper demonstrates that our Australian suburban respondents expressed a considerable concern about these features and the impact they have on their perception of community and their ability to participate in it. Safety, connectedness to the area, the reputation of an area and the extent and nature of community facilities are all seen as important to a healthy community. The research found that in the more deprived socioeconomic areas within the study area, there was a significant degree of dissatisfaction with features of the urban environment, such as availability of amenities, provision of public transport, and proximity of industry to private dwellings. The paper concludes by considering certain features of urban environments that might make them more supportive of health through encouraging contact between people. We conclude that these environments could be improved using the following measures: a subsidy scheme to support the viability of local shops and cafés (thereby providing meeting places and employment); parks with facilitators (who could play a role in increasing safety in the park but also encouraging community development); attractive places to walk; and a general environmental improvement program.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:health promotion, location, social capital, urban environments.
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Palmer, C (Professor Catherine Palmer)
ID Code:91921
Year Published:2002
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2014-06-03
Last Modified:2014-06-03

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