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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Culture and Recreation: Links to Well-Being

Public Policy Paper by Sherri Torjman

Sherri Torjman explores how culture and recreation contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. This paper is part of a series on Vibrant Communities, a pan-Canadian initiative that seeks local solutions for poverty reduction. Vibrant Communities engages citizens and community support organizations to improve the quality of life in local communities. Torjman cites evidence from a variety of fields which indicate that culture and recreation benefit health and well-being, skills development, social capital and economic strength. She concludes that culture and recreation are vital social amenities or key elements of social infrastructure that add substantial value to cities and communities.

As Torjman explains, recreation includes physical education, sports, fitness, social recreation, the arts, culture and therapeutic recreation. Recreation is particularly important for seniors and youth. It also plays a vital role in learning and skills development. In the author’s view, culturally-based programs in the arts, drama and music promote creative thinking, decision-making, problem solving, and foster the development of social skills. The author also asserts that social capital can contribute to the healthy development of children; culture and recreation provide the means to build that social capital by promoting social connectedness in communities and shaping civic behaviour. Arts and culture are means of developing local identity. Finally, culture and recreation make important economic contributions to communities.

Torjman discusses the financing issues that typically arise relating to funding cultural and recreation programs in communities. Specifically, she discusses user fees and the challenges municipalities face since they are not allowed to run operational budget deficits. According to Torjman, a lack of investment in social amenities means a loss of benefits to physical health, social development, community well-being, and economic vibrancy.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Sherri Torjman;
Publisher: Caledon Institute of Social Policy [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English French
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Urban Change & Renewal
Policy Articles / Welfare & Social Issues / Seniors
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Urban Change & Renewal / 2004
Policy Articles / Welfare & Social Issues / Seniors / 2004
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement
Policy Articles / Welfare & Social Issues
Policy Articles / Welfare & Social Issues / Poverty
Policy Articles / Welfare & Social Issues / Poverty / 2004
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Consultation
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Consultation / 2004

Keywords / Tags:

Vibrant Communities; cultural and recreational programs; community support organizations; poverty reduction; social amenities; social infrastructure; social capital; skills development; seniors; youth;