Practical Action to Build Community Resilience: The Good Life Initiative in New Earswick

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The Good Life Initiative (GLI) formed part of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) research programme on Climate Change and Social Justice (CC&SJ). This programme investigated which people and places are likely to be most affected by climate change; how vulnerability, poverty and disadvantage might interrelate; and the responses needed. The GLI was conceived as a practical intervention in the particularly low-income community of New Earswick, a suburb of York. Specifically, the initiative aimed to stimulate community resilience by encouraging the neighbourhood's residents to achieve a healthier, more sustainable, more knowledgeable and more sociable life. The project concept and scope was developed in collaboration with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, who wanted to support the development of sustainability in New Earswick – a community primarily consisting of social housing managed by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust. The SEI approach was to develop the ‘Good Life’ initiative, which aimed to stimulate community building in relation to sustainability issues, considering improved use of resources, increased knowledge leading to lower carbon emissions and greater community connections encouraging shared action. Specific objectives for the project originally included: • to raise public awareness of low-carbon lifestyles; • to foster community cohesion through joint actions; • to support connections between community action and JRHT work on sustainability; • to enhance local skills for self-sufficiency and build local resilience; • to achieve a measurable reduction in household carbon emissions. The research investigated: • the effect of different approaches in facilitating civic engagement and motivating a transition towards a resilient and environmentally sustainable community; • the implications of these findings for promoting pro-environmental behaviour change and local community development; • the implications for national policy. This report highlights the activities of the project and assesses their impacts on the community in relation to the project’s aims. The findings are then related to the theoretical and policy contexts associated with resilience in order to analyse the potential and challenges of implementing actions to stimulate improvements in the ability of communities to adapt to changing economic, social and environmental conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationYork
PublisherJoseph Rowntree Foundation
Number of pages73
ISBN (Electronic) 978 1 90958 6048
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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