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Human Ecology Pathways

The Human Ecology Pathways are the individual strands that make up the web of the Human Ecology.

Understanding the historical, present, and future trajectory of community requires us to understand how the institutions and individuals of the Human Ecology are related to one another and the pathways are these interconnected relationships. On one side of a pathway, you have the upstream inputs which are the conditions, experiences, policies, and assets (or lack thereof) that is shown to be related to the central topic. On the other side, you have the set of conditions, experiences, policies, and assets that are impacted by the topic, and thus downstream outcomes. For example, parental influence, socioeconomic status, 3rd grade reading skills, and health impact a child’s likelihood to graduate from high school. In turn, whether or not someone graduated from high school impacts their overall academic attainment and income potential, their lifelong health, civic participation, and likelihood of being incarcerated.

These relationships range from hypothesized connections to established critical linkages. Using expert opinion, scientific consensus, thorough research digests, and emerging research we have detailed the relationship and the discourse on the subject, the confounding or protective factors, and the strength of the research base. We are working to capture the breadth of the research, situate the topic within the context of place, and equip stakeholders and practitioners with practical information to inform their decisions. These pathways are intended to be dynamic, and will continue to grow and change over time as research evolves.

We plan over the next year to develop an interactive tool similar to our Indicator Explorer that will help guide practitioners and organizations in determining upstream and downstream points of interconnection.