Building a More Peaceful Society through Positive Intergroup Contact: An Ecologically Sustainable Approach to Community Wellness


Series: Community Studies

BISAC: SOC000000

Currently our society is experiencing unprecedented conflict and violence from many different types of situations and causes. As our society is becoming increasingly more diverse, it has become more apparent that we need to rely on more environmentally sustainable mechanisms and cooperative behaviors to help address and reverse this trend. Political extremism, ethnocentric ideology and recent authoritarian leadership has resulted in an increasingly divided and polarized community. This book attempts to address the problems of violence and extremism through our evolutionary history in the need for all groups of individuals to work cooperatively and contribute to a healthier and more productive community where all individuals are afforded opportunities to share their skills in a more holistic, organic and collaborative process, what Ervin Staub (2013) refers to as the “constructive social process.” This book examines how natural and ecologically sustainable (i.e., “green space”) environments can help to promote more cooperative and prosocial behaviors within our communities and address the serious problems involving violence and ethnocentric ideologies.


Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Interpersonal Relationships and Cooperative Behaviors: Why Green Space Programs Remain Important within our Communities Today

Chapter 2: Planting Fruit Trees within Indigenous Populations: Empowering the Fon du Lac, Red Lake and Lower Sioux Tribal Nations Community through Sustainable Green Space Activities

Chapter 3: Helping Communities to Breathe Again: Developing a Strength-Based Model of Community Empowerment in the Wake of George Floyd

Chapter 4: Community Connectedness, Imagined “Green Space” Interactions and Professional Sports as Effective Measures in Achieving Social Justice

Chapter 5: Do Natural Environments Make us Happier? Preferences of Green Space and Cooperative Behaviors as Evolved Psychological Mechanisms

Chapter 6: Creating Communities of Positive Intergroup Contact: A Greener Approach in Achieving Environmental Justice

Chapter 7: Building Your Own Community Garden: A “How To” Approach in Design and Maintenance





“In Building a More Peaceful Society through Positive Intergroup Contact: An Ecologically Sustainable Approach to Community Wellness, Dr. Hoffman explores experiences of inequity in our society related to racism, racialized violence, access to healthy food, distribution of green spaces, and community empowerment. Dr. Hoffman provides evidence of the positive impact of specific interventions like community gardens, planting initiatives to improve access to healthy food, and community-based service projects which lead to feelings of connectedness and empowerment, positive intergroup relationships, and improved well-being among community members. The green space interventions described in this work provide a blueprint for building more equitable, allied, safe, and healthy communities.” – Amy Gort, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Metropolitan State University

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