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Social Capital and Walkability as Social Aspects of Sustainability

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  • Shannon H. Rogers

    ()
    (Center for the Environment, Plymouth State University, MSC 63 17 High Street, Plymouth, NH 03264, USA)

  • Kevin H. Gardner

    ()
    (Environmental Research Group, University of New Hampshire, 35 Colovos Rd, Durham, NH 03264, USA)

  • Cynthia H. Carlson

    ()
    (New England College, 98 Bridge St, Henniker, NH 03242, USA)

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    Abstract

    The concepts of sustainability and sustainable development are frequently described as having three main components, sometimes referred to as the three pillars or the triple bottom line: environmental, economic, and social. Because of an historical focus in the sustainability field on correcting environmental problems, much consideration has been given to environmental issues, especially how they interface with economic ones. Frequently mentioned but rarely examined, the social aspects of sustainability have been considered the weakest and least described pillar. After a brief review of existing concepts and theories, this paper uses a case study approach to examine the third pillar more comprehensively and offers social capital as one measure of social sustainability. Specifically, social capital was used to measure the social-environmental interface of communities. The positive correlation between aspects of the built environment, specifically walkability, and social capital suggests that measuring a social aspect of sustainability may be feasible, especially in the context of community development.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 3473-3483

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:8:p:3473-3483:d:27959

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    Related research

    Keywords: walkability; communities; quality of life; sustainability indicators; social capital;

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    1. Lehtonen, Markku, 2004. "The environmental-social interface of sustainable development: capabilities, social capital, institutions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 199-214, June.
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