Exploring the material basis for health: characteristics of parks in Montreal neighborhoods with contrasting health outcomes

Health Place. 2006 Dec;12(4):361-71. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2005.02.001.


The growing evidence of neighborhood influences on health points to the need for investigation of health-relevant features of local environments. This study examines one potentially health-enhancing neighborhood resource, urban parks, to test for systematic differences in material conditions between areas. Twenty-eight parks selected from six urban Montreal neighborhoods along a health status gradient are qualitatively assessed. While neighborhood parks showed a variety of feature quality ratings, those located in poor health areas displayed several pronounced material disadvantages, including concentration of physical incivilities, limited provision of facilities for physical exercise, and adjacency to industrial sites and multi-lane roads. Equalizing park quality between areas may be an important step for public health promotion.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Public Health*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quebec
  • Recreation*
  • Residence Characteristics*