Background: There is little robust evidence to test the policy assumption that housing-led area regeneration strategies will contribute to health improvement and reduce social inequalities in health. The GoWell Programme has been designed to measure effects on health and wellbeing of multi-faceted regeneration interventions on residents of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the city of Glasgow, Scotland.
Methods/design: This mixed methods study focused (initially) on 14 disadvantaged neighbourhoods experiencing regeneration. These were grouped by intervention into 5 categories for comparison. GoWell includes a pre-intervention householder survey (n = 6008) and three follow-up repeat-cross sectional surveys held at two or three year intervals (the main focus of this protocol) conducted alongside a nested longitudinal study of residents from 6 of those areas. Self-reported responses from face-to-face questionnaires are analysed along with various routinely produced ecological data and documentary sources to build a picture of the changes taking place, their cost and impacts on residents and communities. Qualitative methods include interviews and focus groups of residents, housing managers and other stakeholders exploring issues such as the neighbourhood context, potential pathways from regeneration to health, community engagement and empowerment.
Discussion: Urban regeneration programmes are 'natural experiments.' They are complex interventions that may impact upon social determinants of population health and wellbeing. Measuring the effects of such interventions is notoriously challenging. GoWell compares the health and wellbeing effects of different approaches to regeneration, generates theory on pathways from regeneration to health and explores the attitudes and responses of residents and other stakeholders to neighbourhood change.