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Community cohesion

While much work has been undertaken into the roots of individual wellbeing, this programme will turn to the evidence of geographically-based inequalities in wellbeing. Having established the extent to which differences are accounted for by income, we will research the contribution of other non-pecuniary causes such as how different local jobs and workplaces can affect wellbeing.

Urban economists will focus on how wellbeing can be affected by the increasingly small size of new house builds and overcrowding caused via the planning system's effects on the cost of land and housebuilding. How much do these in turn affect community wellbeing by restricting access to quality public and green space and are these linked to inequalities in access to jobs, commuting times or financial security? Research suggests that housing and regional policy, and urban renewal programmes and subsidies can lead to breakdown of community cohesion and ethos if they result in communities segregated by income groups, home-ownership status, age or ethnicity. Such segregation, together with migration of family members away from the communities they grew up in, may, in turn, account for the globally-witnessed rise in loneliness and isolation of those left behind - with the associated consequences for health and mortality.

Wellbeing researchers will analyse to what extent loneliness and depression can be accounted for by geographical effects, local employment opportunities and earnings in the period following the Great Recession, using detailed data on the observed differences in the area rates of prescription of anti-depressants.

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