Social Infrastructure and Community Capacity

The Social Infrastructure and Community Capacity Program addresses the ways in which the social aspects of places influence health and community wellbeing.

The social and economic divide between different residential areas in cities and towns has long been recognised.  Growing evidence show increasing gaps between suburbs and neighbourhoods in many countries with advanced economies.  Stigmatisation and associations between poor areas, poor health and poor social outcomes is also strengthening.  These associations arise from a complex mix of factors, including the physical and social environments of suburbs and neighbourhoods and the circumstances of the populations that occupy them.

The Social Infrastructure and Community Capacity Program addresses the ways in which the social aspects of places influence health and community wellbeing.  'Social Infrastructure' refers to the system of services, networks and facilities that exist to meet the educational, cultural, support, health and other needs of local communities.  'Community Capacity' refers to the skills and other resources that communities can call on to improve their health and wellbeing.  Research projects include inquiry-based research to build improved understanding of the relationships between health and place, evaluations of community-based programs and community-driven action research projects.

Our priority areas are:

  • the associations between people's health and where they live, particularly in poorer areas
  • the implications of social fragmentation in urban environments
  • evaluating local health and wellbeing initiatives
  • working with culturally diverse communities to evaluate health and social projects
  • analysis of policies and activities intended to reduce poverty reduction and promote better health
  • exploring and evaluating arts-based approaches for health promotion and community wellbeing.

The research team has expertise in qualitative, participatory, visual and arts-based research methods and we work closely with communities, government and non-government organisations, and local and international academic researchers.