Do Investments in Low-Income Neighborhoods Produce Objective Change in Health-Related Neighborhood Conditions?

Published in: Health & Place, Volume 64 (July 2020). doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2020.102361

Posted on RAND.org on March 16, 2021

by Stephanie Brooks Holliday, Wendy M. Troxel, Ann C. Haas, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Tiffany L. Gary-Webb, Rebecca L. Collins, Robin L. Beckman, Matthew D. Baird, Tamara Dubowitz

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This study examined the effect of neighborhood investments on neighborhood walkability, presence of incivilities, and crime in two low-income, primarily African American neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, USA. During the study period, one of the neighborhoods (the intervention neighborhood) received substantially more publicly-funded investments than a demographically matched comparison neighborhood. Comparisons between the neighborhoods showed a significant difference-in-difference for all three outcomes. The intervention neighborhood experienced significantly more change related to improved walkability and decreased incivilities. However, the control neighborhood experienced better crime-related outcomes. Analyses that focused on resident proximity to investments found similar results. This highlights the nuances of neighborhood investment, which is important to consider when thinking about public policy.

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