Social sustainability auditing and action

Using a social sustainability as the starting point for designing and planning interventions with residents.

Social Life has created a framework for measuring social sustainability that aims to capture the physical and psychological aspects of what makes local communities thrive, or struggle. This was commissioned by the UK Government's Homes and Communities Agencies.

Social Life has used this framework as a way of understanding local neighbourhoods. It captures aspects of residents day to day experience - including wellbeing and belonging - that may be left out of conventional planning. Our focus is to building on local strengths and assets as well as tackling problems.

We can use this analysis as the basis for starting a conversation between agencies and residents about what needs to change, and what should be protected.

In Glasgow, we would convene three workshops, focusing on a particular area of the city, bringing together all the relevant stakeholders from community organisations to public and private sector agencies. The first workshop would carry out the social sustainability assessment, informed by available data. The second would develop options and the third would identity priorities and how these can be taken forward.

Social Life's work draws on ethnography, data analysis, sensitive facilitation and service design methodologies. We have found that the model of "deliberative workshops" - bringing a group of people together over three sessions to interrogate a particular problem - can be powerful in developing solutions to entrenched local problem.