Health effects of neighborhood demolition and housing improvement: A prospective controlled study of 2 natural experiments in urban renewal

  • Egan M
  • Katikireddi S
  • Kearns A
 et al. 
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OBJECTIVES: We took advantage of a 2-intervention natural experiment to investigate the impacts of neighborhood demolition and housing improvement on adult residents' mental and physical health.

METHODS: We identified a longitudinal cohort (n = 1041, including intervention and control participants) by matching participants in 2 randomly sampled cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2006 and 2008 in 14 disadvantaged neighborhoods of Glasgow, United Kingdom. We measured residents' self-reported health with Medical Outcomes Study Short Form Health Survey version 2 mean scores.

RESULTS: After adjustment for potential confounders and baseline health, mean mental and physical health scores for residents living in partly demolished neighborhoods were similar to the control group (mental health, b = 2.49; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -1.25, 6.23; P = .185; physical health, b = -0.24; 95% CI = -2.96, 2.48; P = .859). Mean mental health scores for residents experiencing housing improvement were higher than in the control group (b = 2.41; 95% CI = 0.03, 4.80; P = .047); physical health scores were similar between groups (b = -0.66; 95% CI = -2.57, 1.25; P = .486).

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that housing improvement may lead to small, short-term mental health benefits. Physical deterioration and demolition of neighborhoods do not appear to adversely affect residents' health.

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  • Matt Egan

  • Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi

  • Ade Kearns

  • Carol Tannahill

  • Martins Kalacs

  • Lyndal Bond

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