Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. John D. Eyles
In an effort to ameliorate some of the current problems facing cities (e.g., social, health, environmental, etc.), a number of locales in Canada and throughout the world have engaged in healthy and sustainable community initiatives. In essence, these initiatives represent an effort to fundamentally change the culture of local decision-making to explicitly include concerns for "health" and "sustainability" (broadly defined). While the popularity of these initiatives continues to rise, little is known in terms of their ability to effect significant change. Most evaluative efforts to date have centred on the development and use of quantitative indicators of community health outcomes. These methods are unable to capture the kinds of subtle and locally contingent changes taking place. In an effort to address this deficiency, this dissertation presents the results of an interpretive process/impact evaluation of healthy and sustainable community initiatives in Hamilton and Sudbury, Ontario. Interviews with key informants in Hamilton (n=20) and Sudbury (n=15) suggest that despite contrasting approaches to implementation, the initiatives in both communities have experienced significant barriers in operationalizing the concepts into practice. A combination of institutional inertia and a lack of political will has meant that implementation has been incremental at best, and the initiatives' agenda status has remained low. In both communities, the initiatives have been interpreted as policy mechanisms to assist in the re-imaging of these post-industrial cities. As such, despite the "radical" rhetoric put forth by its original proponents, the abstract and highly malleable nature of the concepts has led to their narrow interpretation by local elites as policy mechanisms to facilitate traditional economic growth. The implications of these findings for theory and policy, along with the future prospects of the initiatives are explored.
McMullan, Colin A., "A Qualitative Evaluation of Healthy and Sustainable Community Initiatives in Hamilton and Sudbury, Ontario" (2002). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1496.