Deteriorating physical features of urban environments can negatively influence public health. Dilapidated environments and urban blight tend to promote alienation and can be associated with social disorder, vandalism, crime, drug abuse, traffic violations, and littering, which in turn affects health and well-being. In the late 1990s, the Sunnyside neighborhood in Portland, Ore, was plagued by many of these problems. In an attempt to invigorate neighborhood stewardship, the community organized and created a public gathering place; together, they painted a gigantic sunflower in the middle of an intersection and installed several interactive art features. As a result of these collective actions of “place-making,” social capital has increased, thus revitalizing the community, and expanded social networks among residents have stimulated a sense of well-being.
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