Experiences of connectivity and severance in the wake of a new motorway: implications for health and well-being

Nimegeer, A. , Thomson, H. , Foley, L., Hilton, S. , Crawford, F. and Ogilvie, D. (2018) Experiences of connectivity and severance in the wake of a new motorway: implications for health and well-being. Social Science and Medicine, 197, pp. 78-86. (doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.11.049) (PMID:29222998) (PMCID:PMC5777829)

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The construction of new urban roads may cause severance, or the separation of residents from local amenities or social networks. Using qualitative data from a natural experimental study, we examined severance related to a new section of urban motorway constructed through largely deprived residential neighbourhoods in Glasgow, Scotland. Semi-structured and photo-elicitation interviews were used to better understand severance and connectivity related to the new motorway, and specifically implications for individual and community-level health and well-being through active travel and social connections. Rather than a clear severance impact attributable to the motorway, a complex system of connection and severance was spoken about by participants, with the motorway being described by turns as a force for both connection and severance. We conclude that new transport infrastructure is complex, embedded, and plausibly causally related to connectedness and health. Our findings suggest the potential for a novel mechanism through which severance is enacted: the disruptive impacts that a new road may have on third places of social connection locally, even when it does not physically sever them. This supports social theories that urge a move away from conceptualising social connectedness in terms of the local neighbourhood only, towards an understanding of how we live and engage dynamically with services and people in a much wider geographical area, and may have implications for local active travel and health through changes in social connectedness.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hilton, Professor Shona and Nimegeer, Dr Amy and Ogilvie, David and Crawford, Ms Fiona and Thomson, Dr Hilary
Authors: Nimegeer, A., Thomson, H., Foley, L., Hilton, S., Crawford, F., and Ogilvie, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Social Science and Medicine
ISSN (Online):1873-5347
Published Online:29 November 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Social Science and Medicine 197:78-86
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU