Ecological analysis

This ‘ecological’ component of GoWell provided an added dimension to the main study by monitoring wider area changes and changes relating to housing and health that were happening throughout Glasgow.

This was undertaken so that the changes found through the residential survey and the other components could be looked at in the context of wider trends. It seeked to embed and understand these changes within their historical and policy context and explored how health arises out of the whole ‘ecology’ (physical, social, environmental and cultural) in which people live.

It was made up of different elements, each of which is described below.

Historical and policy context

This involved examining the historical and policy background within which community regeneration took place.

The historical part of the study explored the development of the city of Glasgow, over the course of the 20th Century, to identify key influences and events affecting population health and wellbeing as well as changes in physical, social, and economic conditions.

The policy part of the study reviewed policies at national, regional and local level to explore how policies, strategies and plans envisaged the links between regeneration and health. It identified important potential influences upon community health and wellbeing, as well as considered the consistency and comparability of policies developed and implemented by particular agencies within the city.

The Will Glasgow Flourish? report is one output of this work. The report reviews the historical context of regeneration, key social and public health trends, describes policies, strategies and plans which have influenced regeneration activity, and provides an outline of Glasgow’s situation at the beginning of the 21st Century.

It reflects on the strengths and weaknesses of past approaches and asks whether lessons from the past are truly being applied today.  

Monitoring the wider city environment: quantitative analysis

This element brought a quantitative dimension to this component. It used routine data to monitor and explore wider trends across Glasgow, assess the extent to which the gap between deprived and other areas changed, and consider whether health and wellbeing in our study areas was influenced by changes across the wider city. There were three specific aims as follows:

  • To understand better the patterns and trends in health and wellbeing-related factors across the city of Glasgow, in particular in relation to different socio-economic groupings.
  • Within the above, to clarify where the GoWell areas sat within the socio-economic spectrum across the city.
  • To profile explicitly the health of the GoWell areas, and more generally that of areas of social housing (including areas of GHA housing) in the city.

These aims were addressed in two complementary reports. The first report, Health and Wellbeing in Glasgow and the GoWell Areas: deprivation based analyses, describes at the time recent trends in health and wellbeing-related factors in the city by Glasgow-specific deprivation deciles; and, confirms the levels of deprivation within the GoWell areas themselves (and, therefore, where the areas fit within the overall deprivation profile of the city).

The second report, Health and Wellbeing in GoWell and Social Housing Areas in Glasgow, presents detailed profiles of: the GoWell areas individually; the area types; areas comprised of social housing and areas comprised of GHA properties.

A Briefing Paper which summarises the findings from both these reports is also available.

Wider area changes

Baseline reports for each GoWell study area were produced in 2006 to provide a description of the areas against which change over time could be monitored. An important component of the ecological team's work was to update these baseline reports to monitor change in the study areas, providing a context within which survey responses and other GoWell analyses could be more meaningfully interpreted.

This process focussed on the three Transformational Regeneration Areas (Red Road (and the surrounding area), Shawbridge and Sighthill) and one of the Local Regeneration Areas (Scotstoun). Information was drawn from the original baseline reports, produced in 2006, and from semi-structured interviews with key informants in each of the areas.

A summary of the information collected on each of these areas can be downloaded below:

Red Road Area Information
Shawbridge Area Information
Sighthill Area Information
Scotstoun Area Information

Theories of change

This element involved investigating the understandings (or ‘logic models’) and expectations of policy makers and practitioners of the links between regeneration and health. It used the policy analysis described above to establish the stated reasons for regeneration, the aims and objectives, plans for how these were to be achieved and, in particular, the ways in which interventions were envisaged to impact on residents’ health, wellbeing and quality of life.

Following this, 19 interviews were conducted with key individuals. These explored the extent to which they expected regeneration to have an impact upon community health, in what ways and why. Interviewees included politicians, senior strategists and local implementers or residents who were lay members of housing organisation management committees.

Some clear themes emerged from this work. The first related to the need for a holistic model of regeneration which includes physical, environmental, economic and social regeneration. Although there was support for this holistic approach and a belief that health is an emergent property of this, there was a lack of confidence in the capacity to implement or deliver it.

The second key message that emerged was the concept of ‘personal’ regeneration that many felt was necessary to increase confidence and aspirations in order to motivate and empower people. This was described as a more person-based or individual approach to regeneration.

A journal article was published on this work: How will area regeneration impact on health? Learning from the GoWell study.