Having been immersed in well-being literature for a while for my research on older adults and urban public realm I often wonder why it lacks of a more robust discussion about the socio-economic and political forces that sustain and/or undermine health and well-being. Rarely the discourse on "happiness" and "well-being" touches upon more structural and therefore political factors. This article well summarises a body of evidence and research which also sustained a more holistic and comprehensive approach to public health in Scotland. An approach in which well-being, or "wellness" as Sir Harry Burns pointed out is a spectrum that includes health and that is heavily infuenced by socio-economic, and therefore political circumstances. The same conditions that shape the urban environment and, as in this case, make it a powerful instrument of social engineering with a blatant disregard for the opinions and aspirations of the local community, in other words of their well-being.
The research based on Scottish Office documents released under the 30-year rule shows new towns such as Cumbernauld, East Kilbride and Irvine were populated by Glasgow’s skilled workforce and young families, while the city was left with “the old, the very poor and the almost unemployable”.