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Built Environment and Public Health: Land Use, Neighborhoods, and Housing

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 8003

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Courtney A. Coughenour
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
Interests: the role of community design on health outcomes, including injury, chronic disease and chronic disease risk factors; health impact assessment
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
Interests: community design and health; public health law; public health policy; health in all policies; health impact assessment
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
Interests: built environment; environmental health; community based participatory research; health equity; children's health; health impact assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The built environment is a social determinant of health and plays a critical role in public health and quality of life. Communities, neighborhoods, and housing should be designed and maintained as clean, safe, affordable, and equitable. They should also promote healthy eating and active living and foster mental health, social support, and social cohesion. Understanding the connections between the built environment and public health is therefore critical for designing and implementing upstream and population-level interventions that target disease and injury. Analyzing this link remains promising for both research and practice. This Special Issue invites research articles that utilize different methodologies to explore these relationships from various angles and in different contexts. Research articles should be grounded in existing knowledge and aim to further our understanding of these connections. This issue also invites practice-oriented papers that detail programmatic and policy interventions centered on land use, neighborhoods, or housing and public health. Practice-oriented papers should include descriptive components and should also be grounded in theory and/or research. They should also be analytical; they should highlight the lessons learned that may be of value in research and practice.

Dr. Courtney A. Coughenour
Dr. Maxim Gakh
Dr. Erika Marquez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • neighborhoods
  • housing
  • built environment
  • land use
  • community design
  • social determinants of health
  • health equity
  • active living
  • transportation
  • housing security

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 2218 KiB  
Article
Unearthing Inequities in the Relationship between Multiple Sociodemographic Factors and Diverse Elements of Park Availability and Quality in a Major Southern Metropolitan Region
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21020204 - 09 Feb 2024
Viewed by 712
Abstract
Parks are critical components of healthy communities. This study explored neighborhood socioeconomic and racial/ethnic inequalities in park access and quality in a large U.S. southeastern metropolitan region. A total of 241 block groups were examined, including 77 parks. For each block group, we [...] Read more.
Parks are critical components of healthy communities. This study explored neighborhood socioeconomic and racial/ethnic inequalities in park access and quality in a large U.S. southeastern metropolitan region. A total of 241 block groups were examined, including 77 parks. For each block group, we obtained multiple sociodemographic indicators, including unemployment rate, education level, renter-occupied housing, poverty rate, and racial/ethnic minority composition. All parks were mapped using geographical information systems and audited via the Community Park Audit Tool to evaluate their features and quality. We analyzed seven diverse elements of park quality (transportation access, facility availability, facility quality, amenity availability, park aesthetics, park quality concerns, and neighborhood quality concerns), as well as an overall park quality score by calculating the mean for all parks within each block group. The mean percent of residents below 125% of the poverty level and the percentage of renter-occupied housing units were significantly higher among block groups with any parks in comparison to block groups with no parks. In addition, there were significant positive associations between park transportation access scores and both the percentage of residents with less than high school education and the percent identifying as non-Hispanic white. Moreover, there was a significant negative association between park amenity availability and the block group’s unemployed population. Further, a significant negative association between park aesthetics and the population with a lower than high school education percentage was observed. Revealed differences in park availability, park acreage, and park quality dimensions emphasized the need for targeted policy, programmatic, and infrastructure interventions to improve park access and quality and address health disparities. Full article
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19 pages, 4563 KiB  
Article
Do Vibrant Places Promote Active Living? Analyzing Local Vibrancy, Running Activity, and Real Estate Prices in Beijing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416382 - 07 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1758
Abstract
Although extensive research has investigated urban vibrancy as a critical indicator for spatial planning, urban design, and economic development, the unclear relationship between local vibrancy and active living needs to be clarified and requires more in-depth analysis. This study localizes urban vibrancy at [...] Read more.
Although extensive research has investigated urban vibrancy as a critical indicator for spatial planning, urban design, and economic development, the unclear relationship between local vibrancy and active living needs to be clarified and requires more in-depth analysis. This study localizes urban vibrancy at both hyper-local and neighborhood scales by integrating high-resolution, large-scale, and heterogeneous urban datasets and analyzing interactions among variables representing vibrancy’s environmental, economic, and social aspects. We utilize publicly available urban open data, Points of Interest requested from API, and leisure running trajectories acquired through data mining to investigate the spatial distribution of various vibrancy indicators and how they interact with physical activity at the local scale. Based on these variables, we then construct linear regression models and Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) models to test and estimate how local vibrancy and physical activity relate to residential real estate characteristics. The results reveal the strong impact of urban form on local vibrancy but not physical activeness. At the neighborhood level, all vibrancy factors are statistically significant to local residential real estate prices but with different interactions based on location. Our study highlights the importance of accounting for locality and different physical, environmental, social, and economic factors when analyzing and interpreting urban vibrancy at a granular scale within a city. Full article
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24 pages, 1465 KiB  
Article
Influence and Mechanism of a Multi-Scale Built Environment on the Leisure Activities of the Elderly: Evidence from Hefei City in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159237 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1691
Abstract
Built environment characteristics such as walkability, land use diversity, infrastructure accessibility and attractiveness may support or hinder the elderly’s leisure activities, which in turn affects their health. Promoting the elderly’s leisure activities through the creation of a positive built environment is of great [...] Read more.
Built environment characteristics such as walkability, land use diversity, infrastructure accessibility and attractiveness may support or hinder the elderly’s leisure activities, which in turn affects their health. Promoting the elderly’s leisure activities through the creation of a positive built environment is of great relevance to healthy aging. In the context of the continuous increasing of aging in China, promoting leisure activities for the elderly through improving the built environment has become an essential issue in urban geography and urban planning. Based on the questionnaire survey data of the elderly in Hefei City, a multilevel ordered probit regression model was used to investigate the mechanism of the multi-scale built environment on leisure activities of the elderly. The results show that: (1) more than 60% of the elderly can carry out leisure activities more than seven times a week, more than 50% of the elderly have a duration of fewer than 30 min for each leisure activity, and there are significant spatial differences in the frequency and duration of their trips at multiple scales in city, community and residential district. (2) Residential quality and community-level land use mixture, the density of leisure facilities, proximity to high-level urban roads, community security, living in the old city, and individual characteristic variables such as age, education, and satisfaction with neighborhood interaction positively contribute to the leisure activities of the elderly. In contrast, the community activity participation and the location close to expressways and railway lines have a significantly negative impact on the leisure activities of the elderly. (3) The mechanism of interactions between multi-scale built environments on the leisure activities of the elderly is mainly summarized as the transmission effect and substitution effect. The transmission effect shows that the differences in the community-level built environment are primarily caused by the differences in the city-level built environment. In contrast, the substitution effect shows that the multi-scale built environment such as residential districts, communities, and cities jointly affect the leisure activities of the elderly. Based on the mechanism of the built environment at different scales, this study can provide theoretical references and planning implications to improve the built environment through planning means such as enhancing the walkability of streets, the accessibility of facilities and the scale of greenery in order to promote active leisure activities and improve the health of the elderly. Full article
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14 pages, 682 KiB  
Article
A Mixed-Methods Assessment of Residential Housing Tenants’ Concerns about Property Habitability and the Implementation of Habitability Laws in Southern Nevada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8537; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148537 - 13 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1635
Abstract
Housing is a key health determinant. Habitability laws set minimum standards for adequate housing. However, accessing them to ensure adequate housing may be a challenge for many tenants. This paper explores the need for rental housing policy that would better support adequate and [...] Read more.
Housing is a key health determinant. Habitability laws set minimum standards for adequate housing. However, accessing them to ensure adequate housing may be a challenge for many tenants. This paper explores the need for rental housing policy that would better support adequate and safe housing, particularly for low-income renters. A mixed-methods approach assessed residential tenant habitability concerns in Clark County, Nevada, through calls relayed to the Clark County Landlord–Tenant Hotline (CCLTH). Of the 2865 calls, 74.3% were from ZIP codes that were 80% of the median income and below. There was a significant relationship between the ZIP code-level income and the reporting of at least one essential habitability concern. Of the 266 participants that responded to a follow-up call, 34.6% reported that their complaint was resolved and there was no association between resolution and income. Qualitative data analysis from phone interviews revealed two central themes: (1) resources to navigate landlord–tenant laws are limiting and (2) housing policies need to be strengthened to help tenants and keep people housed. Understanding tenant concerns regarding substandard housing and related inequities can help inform rental housing policy and its implementation to promote healthy homes and improve health outcomes for communities burdened by poor rental housing conditions. Full article
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Review

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25 pages, 2297 KiB  
Review
The Price of Growing Up in a Low-Income Neighborhood: A Scoping Review of Associated Depressive Symptoms and Other Mood Disorders among Children and Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(19), 6884; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20196884 - 05 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1489
Abstract
Neighborhoods, as built and social environments, have significant implications for mental health. Children raised in high-poverty neighborhoods, who are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and people of color, have a greater risk of adverse life outcomes. Neighborhood gentrification is also salient when examining mental health [...] Read more.
Neighborhoods, as built and social environments, have significant implications for mental health. Children raised in high-poverty neighborhoods, who are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and people of color, have a greater risk of adverse life outcomes. Neighborhood gentrification is also salient when examining mental health outcomes as neighborhood economic contexts shift around a child. This review scopes, describes, synthesizes, and critiques the existing literature on the relationship between neighborhood poverty/gentrification and mood disorder symptoms among children ages 3–17 in the United States (U.S.). Given the history of structural racism in the creation of U.S. neighborhoods, inclusion criteria required that study samples be racially diverse. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for scoping reviews, seven databases and grey literature were searched; 17 studies were included (total n = 122,089). Fourteen studies found significant associations between neighborhood poverty/gentrification and child depression. Three longitudinal studies found significant results suggesting that childhood neighborhood poverty/gentrification may have a lagged effect, with depression emerging later in life. Neighborhood poverty and gentrification require further examination as social determinants of mental health. Researchers should examine neighborhood poverty and gentrification as social determinants of mental health. Policies that reduce neighborhood economic disparities are needed across the U.S. Full article
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