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Anne Le Roy and Fiona Ottaviani

Le Roy and Ottaviani report on a collaborative project involving professionals and academics to generate local, sustainable and alternative indicators of well-being: the IBEST project. The purpose is to reveal the complexity of the various connections between monetary resources and sociabilities. Even though social relations are a central topic of Grenoble’s urban policies and are considered essential to the well-being of the city’s inhabitants, they have never before been quantified. To assess the different sociabilities and the role they play in well-being, the IBEST project is based on several principles, including an approach founded on Sen’s capabilities. The main data collection instrument is a questionnaire comprising 86 questions. Several variables related to people’s actions, aspirations and appreciation of their situation are used to assess relational and institutional sociabilities. The authors show that while monetary wealth does not necessarily go hand in hand with a dense social network and personal satisfaction, it does influence the existence of relationships based on trust and the possibility to reach for help. Therefore, the analysis of social bonds cautions against a simplistic approach to sociabilities and the relationships between monetary and non-monetary resources. The analysis also shows the complexity of the relations between variables included in the notion of well-being, which limits the identification of clear cause-and-effect relationships between interpersonal and institutional sociability.