If the highest levels of flourishing are to be achieved in our communities before, during, and after any major disaster that affects society’s capacity to interact with the broader environment, the implications of connectedness, liveability, and equity for community well-being ought to be addressed in public policies and decision-making.
Community wellbeing and flourishing are tied to people’s sense of connectedness. Our research starts with asking the question “how can people be more deeply connected to their communities?” Connection is fostered by a community’s social networks and meaningful relationships. We seek to understand what cultural objects are appropriate for particular contexts and how people in those communities can foster a meaningful connection that would have a better wellbeing outcome. In some cases, we have found that the loss of connectedness with meaningful objects can also lead to declines in wellbeing outcomes and an increase in maladaptive behavior. For example, one of our research has shown a link between attachment-related psychopathology and radicalization (see “The Roots of Radicalization: Disrupted Attachment Systems and Displacement” published by Rowman & Littlefield).
A livable community is supported by a sum of factors that add up to the community’s quality of life and wellbeing. This can include but is not limited to engagement with built and natural environments, sustainable development, social stability, access to health-care services, housing, transportation, education, migration, and cultural diversity.
An equitable community is supported by values of diversity, health equity, social justice, and individual empowerment. Our research addresses how communities can achieve all these values that are central to community wellbeing..