Title

An Occupation-Based Model for Promoting Social Sustainability

Presenter Information

Sarah WalshFollow

Location

Soo Line

Start Time

17-10-2014 5:30 PM

End Time

17-10-2014 6:00 PM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) is widely recognized as “one of the defining moments for sustainable development,” (United Nations, 2012). Since that time, the focus of the sustainability movement has been to promote economic development and facilitate social engagement while protecting the environment (Stoddart, et al., 2011). While the more easily measurable economic and environmental constructs of sustainability are widely researched and developed, limited progress has been made toward developing, quantifying, or qualifying social sustainability (Bacon, Cochrane, & Woodcraft, 2012).

The concept of social sustainability does, however, offer a unique opportunity to the fields of occupational science and occupational therapy, as social sustainability’s definition closely relates to several of the basic tenets of occupational engagement: “Social sustainability is about people’s quality of life, now and in the future. It describes the extent to which a neighborhood supports individual and collective well-being…It is enhanced by development which provides the right infrastructure to support a strong social and cultural life, opportunities for people to get involved, and scope for the place and the community to evolve.” (Bacon, et al., 2012) While considerations related to social sustainability are vital to community engagement of all persons, a literature review by Wolbring and Rybchinski (2013) noted a marked lack of research into the experiences of persons with disabilities in relation to social sustainability.

This presentation will demonstrate the role that occupation and occupational science concepts (e.g., occupational (in)justice, occupational identity, occupational deprivation), have the potential to play in the development of and research regarding social sustainability. More specifically, attention will be focused on applying the information through examination of the importance of occupational engagement and occupational balance for persons with severe and persistent mental illness and a history of homelessness regarding ability to successfully integrate into social communities. Attention will be focused on several interconnected issues, including: (1) the value of the form, function, and meaning of occupation in the development of social sustainability in communities; (2) the implications for occupational scientists and occupational therapy practitioners regarding the facilitation of participation in socially sustainable communities (3) the importance of occupation in health, well-being, and community participation; and (4) potential avenues for advocacy and change to promote occupation-based social sustainability practices on a global scale.

References

Bacon, N., Cochrane, D. and Woodcraft, S. (2012), Creating Strong Communities, The Berkeley Group, London. Retrieved from http://www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/media/pdf/t/4/Sustainability-Creating-Strong-Communities.pdf.

Stoddart, H., Schneeberger, K., Dodds, F., Shaw, A., Bottero, M., Cornforth, J., & White, R. (2011). A Pocket Guide to Sustainable Development Governance: 1st Ed. Retrieved from http://www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/A%20Pocket%20Guide%20to%20Sustainable%20Development%20Governance.pdf

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2012). Review and Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Principles: Synthesis. Retrieved from: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/641Synthesis_report_Web.pdf

Wolbring, G., & Rybchinski, T. (2013). Social Sustainability and Its Indicators through a Disability Studies and an Ability Studies Lens. Sustainability, 5(11), 4889-4907.

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Oct 17th, 5:30 PM Oct 17th, 6:00 PM

An Occupation-Based Model for Promoting Social Sustainability

Soo Line

The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) is widely recognized as “one of the defining moments for sustainable development,” (United Nations, 2012). Since that time, the focus of the sustainability movement has been to promote economic development and facilitate social engagement while protecting the environment (Stoddart, et al., 2011). While the more easily measurable economic and environmental constructs of sustainability are widely researched and developed, limited progress has been made toward developing, quantifying, or qualifying social sustainability (Bacon, Cochrane, & Woodcraft, 2012).

The concept of social sustainability does, however, offer a unique opportunity to the fields of occupational science and occupational therapy, as social sustainability’s definition closely relates to several of the basic tenets of occupational engagement: “Social sustainability is about people’s quality of life, now and in the future. It describes the extent to which a neighborhood supports individual and collective well-being…It is enhanced by development which provides the right infrastructure to support a strong social and cultural life, opportunities for people to get involved, and scope for the place and the community to evolve.” (Bacon, et al., 2012) While considerations related to social sustainability are vital to community engagement of all persons, a literature review by Wolbring and Rybchinski (2013) noted a marked lack of research into the experiences of persons with disabilities in relation to social sustainability.

This presentation will demonstrate the role that occupation and occupational science concepts (e.g., occupational (in)justice, occupational identity, occupational deprivation), have the potential to play in the development of and research regarding social sustainability. More specifically, attention will be focused on applying the information through examination of the importance of occupational engagement and occupational balance for persons with severe and persistent mental illness and a history of homelessness regarding ability to successfully integrate into social communities. Attention will be focused on several interconnected issues, including: (1) the value of the form, function, and meaning of occupation in the development of social sustainability in communities; (2) the implications for occupational scientists and occupational therapy practitioners regarding the facilitation of participation in socially sustainable communities (3) the importance of occupation in health, well-being, and community participation; and (4) potential avenues for advocacy and change to promote occupation-based social sustainability practices on a global scale.