Building momentum: an ethnographic study of inner-city redevelopment.
OBJECTIVES: One factor contributing to the decay of inner-city areas, and to consequent excess mortality, is the massive loss of housing. This report studied the effects of a redevelopment project on social functioning in an inner-city community. METHODS: This ethnographic study included the following elements: a longitudinal study of 10 families living in renovated housing, repeated observations and photographing of the street scene, focus groups, and informal interviews with area residents. The project was located in the Bradhurst section of Harlem in New York City and was focused on a redevelopment effort sponsored by local congregations. RESULTS: Those who were able to move into newly renovated housing found that their living conditions were greatly improved. Neighborhood revitalization lagged behind the rehabilitation of individual apartment houses. This uneven redevelopment was a visual and sensory reminder of "what had been." Residents missed the warmth and social support that existed in Harlem before its decline. CONCLUSIONS: Rebuilding damaged housing contributes greatly to the well-being of inner-city residents. The current pace and scope of rebuilding are insufficient to restore lost vitality. (+info)
Recent urban growth and urinary schistosomiasis in Niamey, Niger.
A cluster sample survey was conducted in 1998 in 30 schools to assess the effect of the growth of Niamey during the last decade on a urinary schistosomiasis urban focus described in 1989. Two thousand and forty-two children (11.0 + 0.1 years old) had a urine filtration test and answered a behavioural questionnaire. Snail populations of the sites used by schoolchildren were followed up in 1999. The global prevalence was 15.7% in 1998, as opposed to 23.7% in 1989. The prevalence was very low in schools far from the river and higher in those along the Niger banks, particularly in villages on the periphery of the urban area. Geographical factors were more important than socio-economic ones in explaining the distribution of the disease. Only 46% of the children in Niamey reported water contact; mainly in the river, rarely in pools and the canal. The infection risk was low in pools (RR = 1.6), high in the river (RR = 3.5) and very high in the canal (RR = 12.5). Malacological studies confirmed the location of transmission sites obtained through parasitological studies and the questionnaire. Sixty-one per cent of the children travelled outside Niamey to the hyperendemic surrounding areas. However, these movements did not increase their infection level. The results are discussed in relation to water contact behaviour and Schistosoma haematobium transmission features. (+info)
A prospective health impact assessment of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Strategy (MerITS).
BACKGROUND: Prospective health impact assessment is a new approach to predicting potential health impacts of policies, programmes or projects. It has been widely recognized that public policies have important impacts on health. In 1997, the Liverpool Public Health Observatory was commissioned to carry out a health impact assessment of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Strategy (MerITS). A secondary aim was to pilot a method for health impact assessment at the strategic level. METHODS: The methods used drew on previous health impact assessments of projects, on strategic environmental assessment, and on policy research. They included policy analysis, semi-structured interviews with key informants and literature searches. RESULTS: Four priority impact areas of MerITS were identified: establishing road hierarchies, economic viability, air quality, and public transport. Potential health impacts in each of these areas were estimated, and recommendations were made to minimize the effects of negative impacts and to enhance positive ones. CONCLUSION: This health impact assessment prospectively identified the key health impacts of a strategy on a defined population and made recommendations to maximize potential positive and minimize potential negative health impacts. The methods employed are generally applicable to prospective health impact assessments of public policies and strategies. (+info)
The pathology of planning.
A study of morbidity on a new housing estate reveals a higher prevalence rate of both physical and mental illness. Much of this is due to physical factors associated with the estate which could have been avoided in the light of previous experience had more attention been given to detail. The proposals embodied in the management arrangements for the reorganised National Health Service should provide the machinery to prevent these faults recurring. (+info)
A prospective health impact assessment of the international astronomy and space exploration centre.
STUDY OBJECTIVES: Assess the potential health impacts of the proposed International Astronomy and Space Exploration Centre on the population of New Wallasey. Contribute to the piloting of health impact assessment methods. DESIGN: Prospective health impact assessment involving brainstorming sessions and individual interviews with key informants and a literature review. SETTING: New Wallasey Single Regeneration Budget 4 area. PARTICIPANTS: Key stakeholders including local residents' groups selected through purposeful snowball sampling. MAIN RESULTS: Recommendations are made that cover issues around: transport and traffic; civic design; security; public safety, employment and training. CONCLUSIONS: Health impact assessment is a useful pragmatic tool for facilitating wide consultation. In particular engaging the local population in the early planning stages of a proposed development, and assisting in highlighting changes to maximise the positive health influences on affected communities. (+info)
Root shock: the consequences of African American dispossession.
Urban renewal was one of several processes that contributed to deurbanization of American cities in the second half of the 20th century. Urban renewal was an important federal policy that affected thousands of communities in hundreds of cities. Urban renewal was to achieve "clearance" of "blight" and "slum" areas so that they could be rebuilt for new uses other than housing the poor. Urban renewal programs fell disproportionately on African American communities, leading to the slogan "Urban renewal is Negro removal." The short-term consequences were dire, including loss of money, loss of social organization, and psychological trauma. The long-term consequences flow from the social paralysis of dispossession, most important, a collapse of political action. This has important implications for the well-being of African Americans. It also raises important questions about the strength and quality of American democracy. (+info)
Zoning, equity, and public health.
Zoning, the most prevalent land use planning tool in the United States, has substantial implications for equity and public health. Zoning determines where various categories of land use may go, thereby influencing the location of resulting environmental and health impacts. Industrially zoned areas permit noxious land uses and typically carry higher environmental burdens than other areas. Using New York City as a case study, the author shows that industrial zones have large residential populations within them or nearby. Noxious uses tend to be concentrated in poor and minority industrial neighborhoods because more affluent industrial areas and those with lower minority populations are rezoned for other uses, and industrial zones in poorer neighborhoods are expanded. Zoning policies, therefore, can have adverse impacts on public health and equity. The location of noxious uses and the pollution they generate have ramifications for global public health and equity; these uses have been concentrated in the world's poorer places as well as in poorer places within more affluent countries. Planners, policymakers, and public health professionals must collaborate on a worldwide basis to address these equity, health, and land use planning problems. (+info)
Developing principles for health impact assessment.
BACKGROUND: Policies and practice in many sectors affect health. Health impact assessment (HIA) is a way to predict these health impacts, in order to recommend improvements in policies to improve health. There has been debate about appropriate methods for this work. The Scottish Executive funded the Scottish Needs Assessment Programme to conduct two pilot HIAs and from these to develop guidance on HIA. METHODS: Case study 1 compared three possible future scenarios for developing transport in Edinburgh, based on funding levels. It used a literature review, analysis of local data and the knowledge and opinions of key informants. Impacts borne by different population groups.were compared using grids. Case study 2 assessed the health impacts of housing investment in a disadvantaged part of Edinburgh, using published literature, focus groups with community groups and interviews with professionals. RESULTS: Disadvantaged communities bore more detrimental effects from the low transport investment scenario, in the areas of: accidents; pollution; access to amenities, jobs and social contacts; physical activity; and impacts on community networks. The housing investment had greatest impact on residents' mental health, by reducing overcrowding, noise pollution, stigma and fear of crime. CONCLUSION: Although there is no single 'blueprint' for HIA that will be appropriate for all circumstances, key principles to inform future HIA were defined. HIA should be systematic; involve decision-makers and affected communities; take into account local factors; use evidence and methods appropriate to the impacts identified and the importance and scope of the policy; and make practical recommendations. (+info)