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The Other Side of Sustainable Development: Examining the Psychosocial Geographies of Exclusion in the Urban Ghetto

Authors: Aleem Mahabir*, University of the West Indies - Mona, Robert Kinlocke, University of the West Indies - Mona
Topics: Sustainability Science, Development, Urban Geography
Keywords: Social Exclusion, Social Inequality, Social Justice, Urban Enclaves, Geographies of Exclusion, Geographies of Hope
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The focus on macro-scale structural factors has likely eclipsed micro-level explorations of the psychosocial domains of inequality and exclusion. These ‘soft indicators’ may ultimately play a significant role in compromising or contributing to efforts towards societal equity and sustainable development. Acknowledging the multidimensional nature of inequality and exclusion, this study examines the underlying psychosocial factors that potentially serve to perpetuate enduring socio-spatial exclusion of residents living in the urban enclave of Beetham Gardens, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The role of innovation and human agency in the management of marginalization was also explored, extending understandings of how psychological capital and a sense of hope can be incorporated into existing sustainable development frameworks to curtail marginalization. A combination of questionnaire surveys, interviews and focus group discussions were used to gain critical insight into possible ways in which structural factors shape psychosocial outcomes and neighbourhood character. The link between the structural indicators of exclusion and residents’ psychosocial dispositions were then statistically determined using descriptive and multivariate analysis, and also spatially represented using geo-statistical techniques. The results suggest that exclusion negatively impacted residents’ sense of hope, potentially degrading levels of esteem and civic engagement. Despite these challenges, most of them still exhibit a great degree of resilience and potential for empowerment. Therefore, understandings of hope and aspirations may be harnessed as a tool for enhancing the collective efficacy of marginalised groups and may also serve as a vital component for monitoring and evaluation frameworks which seek to measure current and long-term development trajectories.

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