Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2017 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Envisioning a Community Space in Curtis Bay: Analyzing well-being and social trust at The Well
Thomas, Tissa
Co-Authors: Tissa J. Thomas

Abstract: This study examined community well-being with special attention to access to safe spaces, opportunities, and a healthy environment. The key questions are how do assets as space benefit the community? And, how are they related to social capital, social trust, and social engagement? The primary focus is a faith-based organization, Drinking at "The Well" (N=30), as a "safe space" for residents in Curtis Bay, Maryland. Curtis Bay is an economically disadvantaged neighborhood and Baltimoreís most racially integrated community. The Well provides service mainly for women and a safe space for women of all backgrounds -- its significant feature is a mentorship program based on a strong spiritual belief. A qualitative analysis in community-based participatory research (CBPR) of asset mapping and a logic model are helpful paradigms in understanding and recognizing the different forms of social and cultural capitals relating to assets in an urban community from the perspective of residents and stakeholders. Data were derived from the organizationís demographic information, participant observations, and interviews. Residents of Curtis Bay increasingly utilize The Well to seek useful information, social capital, and environmental support. The success of the organization is based on the willingness of residents to bond, engage in civic cooperation, and build social trust, while also contributing useful information and knowledge about assets and deficits in their community. The Well has a positive influence on residentsí social and cultural identities, community trust, and well-being.