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Planning for society and community: Are transport problems a barrier to participation in community activities?

By Victoria Johnson


Participation in community activities can confer social and health benefits and is considered an important aspect of social inclusion. This paper presents results of research that assessed whether factors identified in the literature as likely to influence travel and activity generally, are also associated with participation and non-participation in community activities. The data set (N=784) is from the Investigating transport disadvantage, social exclusion and wellbeing in metropolitan, regional and rural Victoria (TDSE) project. Logistic regression was used to identify which of these factors have a significant association with participation or nonparticipation. The TDSE data was selected for this analysis because it differentiates between two groups. People who have not participated because they choose not to and those who have not participated because facilities are not available, or are insufficient for their needs. Analysis of this data provides the opportunity to consider different influences on participation and nonparticipation, either by choice or caused by constraints. Results indicate that social exclusion and low wellbeing are both associated with constrained non-participation in community activity. People reporting social exclusion or low wellbeing were unable to participate in the activities they wanted to due to the activity being unavailable or inadequate to their needs. However, reported transport problems are associated with choice non-participation in community activities. These results raise questions about the role of constraint in choice and the influence of structural barriers to participation and agency. These questions are examined and implications for policy are discussed. 1 ATRF 2011 Proceedings

Year: 2013
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