The use of the concept of wellbeing in assessing the impact of public policies on Nature
with David Clapham (University of Glasgow, Department of Urban Studies)
Hybrid event
Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette / Belval
Salle de conférence (1st floor)
11:00 am
12:30 pm
For inquiries:


Nature is increasingly being defined as a holistic concept that includes people and the environments they have made. In other words, people and cities are part of Nature. This is coupled with a growing realisation that problems such as climate change and decreasing bio-diversity are complex phenomena that are impacted through the complex webs of interactions in Nature between people, animals and materials. In this picture, every policy (such as housing) needs to be evaluated in terms of its impact on the rest of Nature and there is a need for holistic concepts and methods of analysis to achieve this.

The presentation will review the bases and uses of the concept of wellbeing, and related approaches such as capabilities, with the aim of assessing whether they are suited to the holistic task outlined above. The practices approach is used as a framework for conceptualising the relationships between humans, animals and materials and as a template for assessing the role of concepts such as wellbeing. Wilber’s concept of the quadrants of a holon is drawn on to illustrate the different aspects of evaluation criteria that can be used. Questions raised will include whether the concept can be applied to animals or materials and how it can be used in assessing complex relationships. The conclusion is that wellbeing can be a useful concept that has an important role to play in assessing the impact of policies on Nature, but that more work is needed in refining the concept with this task in mind.


David Clapham is a Professor of Housing and Urban Studies in the Department of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow. He was previously Professor of Planning in the Department of Real Estate and Planning at the University of Reading and Professor of Housing and Director of the Centre for Housing Management and Development at Cardiff University. David is a member of the Advisory Board for the Department of Planning and Urban Design at the University of Hong Kong and was Visiting Professor at IBF at the University of Uppsala in Sweden between 2011 and 2016. David’s interests are wide-ranging in the fields of housing and social theory and housing policy. Within CaCHE he focuses on using the concept of well-being to assess the outcomes of housing policies and programmes as well as leading the Social Housing Working Group examining the issues associated with the development of new social housing. Other interests include inequality and housing and sustainability.

Supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (RESCOM/2021/16537536)

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