Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status and Change in Built Environment Infrastructure

Jana Hirsch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Geoffrey Green, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Daniel Rodriguez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Penny Gordon-Larsen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

While increasing evidence suggests an association between neighborhood built environment infrastructure and health outcomes, relatively little research examines how neighborhoods change physically over time and how these physical improvements are spatially distributed across populations. This paper describes the change over time of particular types of physical infrastructure in four cities in the United States and explores the distribution of infrastructure change across neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics. Using environmental audit and census data, we examine neighborhood changes in bicycle lanes, off-road trails, bus transit service, and parks with neighborhood percent in poverty, percent unemployed, median household income, and percent of housing occupied. These infrastructure elements have been associated with physical activity. We also examine spatial clusters of infrastructure change within each city. We found varied changes across neighborhoods. Increased collaboration across disciplines can assist in the design of urban planning solutions that can be implemented by local governments to improve health equity.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Data and Methods/Applied Demography/ Spatial Demography/ Demography of Crime