Service Access Rigidities in Rural Alaska

  • Wayne Edwards


Access to basic services such as health care, the court system, and police protection is vital to individual and social well-being. If barriers exist that prevent people from receiving fundamental services, the quality of their lives is diminished. In the aggregation, society as a whole suffers when some of its members fail to receive services, making access barriers a prominent policy issue concerning the government at national, regional (state), and local levels.

Service availability, access, and delivery are universal problems every society faces. Resource constraints are sometimes the cause for the absence or poor provision of services. However, service rigidities do not arise solely from a lack of resources. Access rigidities do include obvious barriers like the absence of physical facilities (e.g., hospitals) and low incomes of citizens, but they also include less obvious barriers like social and family dynamics. Rigidities are often more severe in rural places, sometimes to the extent that rural community sustainability is jeopardized by service access barriers.

This chapter identifies crucial factors in service access rigidity by using a modified social fabric matrix (SFM). The components of the SFM – cultural values, societal beliefs, personal attitudes, social institutions, technology, and the natural environment – go to the core of the question of well-being and are ideally suited to identify access rigidities. Once identified, service access rigidity is quantified over geographic regions in the state of Alaska. Rigidities are found to vary not only by geography but also by service type.


Rural Resident Service Access Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Service Availability Court System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wayne Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA

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