Neighborhood Physical Features and Relationships With Neighbors: Does Positive Physical Environment Increase Neighborliness?

  • Wilkerson A
  • Carlson N
  • Yen I
 et al. 
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The objective was to investigate associations between features of the physical environment and neighborliness. Measures of the physical environment, including sidewalks, front porches, traffic-calming devices, bars on windows, and the presence of litter or graffiti, were collected using a systematic audit instrument in 10 neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon. Generalized linear regression models were created to model the odds of increasing neighborliness given access to the physical-environment factors of interest. The authors observed a greater probability of higher levels of neighborliness as the total number of positive physical-environment characteristics increased (cumulative odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 1.69 [1.16, 2.45]) and the results were unchanged after controlling for race, self-reported health, perception of safety, years of neighborhood residence, age of house, market value of house, and proportion of homeowners in neighborhood. Modifiable features of the physical environment may be one mechanism through which people can enhance neighborliness.

Author-supplied keywords

  • neighborhood
  • physical environment
  • psychological sense of community
  • walkability

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  • Amy Wilkerson

  • Nichole E. Carlson

  • Irene H. Yen

  • Yvonne L. Michael

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