The Social, Health and Educational Benefits of Environmental Projects: Case Studies in the UK

By Laurence Carmichael and Derrick Purdue.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper will report the results of research carried out for the Environment Agency in England and Wales in 2005. The purpose of the research was to examine the social, health and educational benefits of a number of Environment Agency projects in the areas of fisheries, flood risk management and river restoration in both England and Wales. The data was collected from stakeholders, project users and project managers. Various methods were used to measure the benefits of environmental projects, depending on the type of benefit and type of project. Social impact can be examined through attitude surveys of project users and stakeholder interviews. Health benefits can be encapsulated by looking at the amount of exercise undertaken by users; educational benefits can range from improvement in pupils' performance in key stage exams, their increased awareness of the environment and changes in attitude to environmental issues. In this research, the case study approach has allowed us to observe closely three different types of environmental projects developed by the Environment Agency (fisheries, flood risk management and river restoration) in three different settings across the UK (urban in London, rural in Wales and semi-urban in Yorkshire). The projects all aimed at benefiting communities affected by socio-economic issues, including rural isolation, post-industrial decline or urban stress. The research demonstrated that environment improvement has had positive and measurable impact on local communities' well being and quality of life. We will report how the research was carried out, describe the three case studies examined and report on the research results to argue that environmental improvement benefits regeneration in various ways and should be an important element of any regeneration programmes and projects.

Keywords: Environmental Improvement, Regeneration, Social Capital, Community Safety, Health Benefits, Educational Benefits

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.71-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 515.014KB).

Dr. Laurence Carmichael

Research Fellow, Cities Research Centre, Faculty of the Built Environment, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

University of the West of England, Bristol, UK Laurence is a Research Fellow in the Cities Research Centre, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Her Research interests include multi-level governance, urban sustainability, knowledge transfer and role of knowledge in local environmental policies, EU policies and their implementation at national and local levels. She has coordinated bids and researched on EU funded projects in these fields of research within a European comparative context. She is developing a joint degree in planning and regeneration with EU and US partners as a way to promote knowledge exchange and policy learning as well as short courses on public private partnerships in the area of regeneration. She has engaged public and private organisations in PhD scholarships and supervision to promote regional links between practitioners and academic research. She has also done work for outside bodies,including the Environment Agency and Planning Aid Wales.She is a member of the European Urban Research Association’s Governing Board and editorial assistant of Urban Research and Practice. She is bilingual French-English.

Dr. Derrick Purdue

Senior Research Fellow, Cities Research Centre, University of the West of England, UK

University of the West of England, Bristol, UK Derrick is a Senior Research Fellow in the Cities Research Centre of the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. His main research interests include social movements, community engagement in urban regeneration and environmental sustainability. He is author of Anti- Genetix: The Emergence of a Global Movement against GM Food, London: Ashgate, 2000, and Community Leaders in Area Regeneration, Bristol: Policy Press, 2000, (with Hambleton, R, Razzaque, K, and Stewart, M). He is editor of Understanding Collaboration: International Perspectives on Theory, Method and Practice, Bristol: UWE, 2002, (with M. Stewart) and Civil Societies and Social Movements: Potentials and Problems, London: Routledge (2007). He has had articles published in Urban Studies, Sociological Review, Environmental Politics, Innovation, Environment and Planning A, New Genetics and Society, Science as Culture, Review of Public Management, Public Money and Management and Community Development Journal. He was convenor of an ECPR Workshop, The Changing Structure of Civil Society, in Uppsala, April 2004.

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