Interpreting the Social Dimension of Sustainability

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  • Title: Interpreting the Social Dimension of Sustainability: Connecting Theory and Community Planning Practice with a Social Determinants of Health Framework
  • Author(s): Jacklyn Kohon
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context
  • Keywords: Social Sustainability, Urban Planning Practice, Social Determinants of Health
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2325-1115 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-114X (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2325-1115/CGP/v14i03/1-19
  • Citation: Kohon, Jacklyn . 2018. "Interpreting the Social Dimension of Sustainability: Connecting Theory and Community Planning Practice with a Social Determinants of Health Framework." The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context 14 (3): 1-19. doi:10.18848/2325-1115/CGP/v14i03/1-19.
  • Extent: 19 pages

Abstract

The concept of sustainability has been widely adopted in urban planning practice and theory. The social dimension of sustainability (SDS) remains the most underdeveloped and overlooked dimension of sustainability, both conceptually and practically, though social aspects of sustainability offer great potential to address urban social problems. This article reports on findings from research involving case studies of neighborhood-scale sustainability planning projects in Portland, Oregon; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Nagoya, Japan to describe the ways in which the SDS has been conceptualized and implemented in recent planning practice. The social determinants of health (SDH) framework is applied to these conceptualizations to identify the utility of this framework in further developing the SDS. Findings suggest commonalities across contexts and differences in their emphasis on structural and contextual determinants. This SDH framework contributes structure to theory on the SDS and provides a useful tool for planners to address complex urban social problems through neighborhood-scale sustainability planning practice.