Conceptual and Methodological Advances
Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay
Chapter 8: An Ecological Model of Wellbeing
Davianna Pomaika’i McGregor, Paula Tanemura Morelli, Jon Kei Matsuoka and Luciano Minerbi Introduction ‘Wellbeing’ is a multifaceted concept drawing on both environmental and intrapsychic factors. An ecological model of wellbeing assumes that a healthy ecological system is the foundation for a functional economy and social system that can sustain a high quality of life for its residents. In western societies, wellbeing is measured using indicators such as asset income, poverty rates, residential stability, and disease and mortality rates (Oﬃce of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 1997). In non-western cultures, including those of indigenous Paciﬁc Islanders, human wellbeing is often synonymous with the health and vitality of natural resources in addition to the perpetuation of cultural traditions and a communal identity (McGregor et al., 1998; Papa Ola Lokahi, 1992). A number of theorists have proposed ecological systems models that explain the eﬀects of environment on personal identity and predispositions, family structure and roles, and communal networks and patterns (for example, Bronfenbrenner, 1977, 1995; Bronfenbrenner and Ceci, 1994). Bronfenbrenner (1995) asserted that human development and wellbeing were established through a series of reciprocal interactions between biopsychological human beings and their social and physical environments. This proximal process occurs between individuals and their families and within peer, learning and recreational activities. The signiﬁcance and impact of features within the proximal realm are apt to vary across cultures. Social impact assessments (SIAs) conducted in the context of nonwestern cultures, indigenous cultures, or subcultures within a predominant western one,...
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