Delivering Urban Wellbeing through Transformative Community Enterprise: Final Report (2019)
AuthorsDombroski, Kelly, Diprose, Gradon, Conradson, David, Healy, Stephen, Watkins, Alison F.show all
Urban communities around the world are using farming and gardening to promote food security, social inclusion and wellbeing (Turner, Henryks and Pearson, 2011). In the New Zealand city of Christchurch, a recently formed social enterprise known as Cultivate currently operates two such urban farms. The farms, which use vacant urban land and green waste to grow and distribute locally grown food, are based around an innovative community form of economy that provides care and training for urban youth. The farms provide a therapeutic environment that is co-created by youth interns, urban farmers, social workers and community volunteers. Cultivate’s urban farms are a valuable example of a creative urban wellbeing initiative that may be useful for other organisations seeking to promote youth wellbeing, hauora,1 social development and urban food security in Aotearoa New Zealand and further afield. To document and measure the holistic impact of Cultivate, we collaborated with Cultivate staff, youth interns and other stakeholders to extend an already existing assessment tool: the Community Economy Return on Investment (CEROI). The CEROI tool was workshopped with urban designers, planners, and community practitioners to test its potential for documenting the non-monetary return of Cultivate’s work, and then communicating this return to those involved in other urban wellbeing projects. This report summarises the research and explains how we used the CEROI tool to document and measure the transformative social and environmental outcomes of Cultivate’s activities. Cultivate is the site in which effort, relationships, money and materials are brought together. It is a site which produces a significant amount of food, but its benefits also extend to changed lives, changed relationships, and a more positive sense of Christchurch as a post-disaster city. These returns on Cultivate’s activities are not captured by notions of profit, ‘savings from helping young people to avoid the justice system’, or even the production of ‘good workers for the economy’. Instead, they might be described as ‘something more’. This research responds to the need to develop a language and an approach to thinking about value that helps us to represent this ‘something more’. We show how the concept of return on investment from a community economies perspective can enable us to describe and document this return in a more holistic sense (especially in comparison to conventional financial accounting approaches). We also suggest that the Cultivate case study offers an important example of how mental wellbeing and access to therapeutic urban environments can be addressed through the work of a self-sustaining community enterprise. In offering this perspective, we acknowledge that further work is required to refine the CEROI tool, so that it can be used to support the work of other community and social enterprises.
CitationDombroski K, Diprose G, Conradson D, Healy S, Watkins A (2019). Delivering Urban Wellbeing through Transformative Community Enterprise. Christchurch, New Zealand.
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ANZSRC Fields of Research16 - Studies in Human Society::1604 - Human Geography::160401 - Economic Geography
16 - Studies in Human Society::1604 - Human Geography::160404 - Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)
17 - Psychology and Cognitive Sciences::1701 - Psychology::170113 - Social and Community Psychology