Practicing wellbeing through community economies: an action research approach

Smith, Thomas and Dombroski, Kelly

Abstract – Tuhinga Whakarāpopoto

Research at the intersection of wellbeing and economy has tried to understand socio-economic ‘development’ differently. Yet it has often done so by conceiving of wellness in narrowly individualistic terms, easily overlapping with economic modelling based on individual rational economic actors. In this chapter, we reclaim wellbeing as a socio-economic concept based not on individual wellness or happiness, but collective practices of ‘surviving well together’. To do so, we draw from the vibrant scholarly tradition of diverse economies and community economies. The chapter introduces key ‘community economy’ concepts and discusses the implications of undertaking participatory wellbeing research using this approach.

Keywords – Kupu Hāngai

Wellbeing; community engagement; Christchurch; collective wellbeing; community wellbeing

Fields of Research – Āpure Rangahau

Geography; Planning and Tourism; Sociology; Psychology; Community planning; Built environment and design; Community engagement


Date – Te Wā Whakarewa



Type – Te Auaha

Chapter in book

Citation – Kupu Hautoa

Smith, T. & Dombroski, K. (2021). Practicing wellbeing through community economies: an action research approach. In B. Searle, J. Pykett & M. J. Alfaro-Simmonds (Eds.), A Modern Guide to Wellbeing Research (pp. 84-103). Edward Elgar Publishing.