Centre for Social Impact Swinburne

Mapping the Impact of Social Enterprise on Regional City Disadvantage

The research explores how social enterprises impact on individual wellbeing and community capacity in disadvantaged areas of regional cities. It uses spatial methodology to map where and how wellbeing is realised.

It has been challenging for social enterprises to show their impact on people’s lives and communities, in quantitative, easy to assimilate ways. Causal pathways to wellbeing have also been hard to show. Traditional research data collection practices can be off-putting and disempowering for social enterprise employees. That’s why in this project we are:

  • Measuring well-being realisation in social enterprises using established wellbeing categories (from Spaces of Wellbeing Theory)
  • Showing wellbeing quantitatively by collecting several types of geo-coded data and layering these into a geographical information system (GIS)
  • Using data collection methods that enable social enterprise employee’s authentic voices to be heard
  • Enabling understanding by producing visualisations of wellbeing quantities for social enterprises and communities
  • Developing innovative interactive technologies, for example, to enable anyone to experience wellbeing from a social enterprise through re-living social enterprise employee experiences

Project timeframe

2017 - 2020

Research team

  • Professor Jane Farmer, chief investigator
  • Tracy De Cotta, project manager
  • Professor Jo Barraket
  • Dr Katharine McKinnon, La Trobe University
  • Professor Sue Kilpatrick, University of Tasmania
  • Dr Chris Brennan-Horely, University of Woolongong
  • Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz, University of the Highlands & Islands, Scotland
  • Dr Michael Roy, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland

This research was in partnership with the Australian Research Council Discovery Project.