Building a Culture of Health Through the Built Environment: Impact of a Cluster Randomized Trial Remediating Vacant and Abandoned Property on Health Mindsets

Res Sq [Preprint]. 2024 May doi: 10.21203/


Changing built environment conditions to impact health mindsets and health equity may be a promising target for public health interventions. The present study was a cluster randomized controlled trial to test the impact of remediating vacant and abandoned properties on factors related to health mindset-including well-being, health interconnectedness, social capital markers, neighborhood disorder and worry-as well as direct and indirect violence experiences and the moderating role of racial and income segregation on outcomes. A residential cohort of 405 participants from 194 randomly assigned geographic clusters were surveyed over five waves from 2019 to 2023. Compared to clusters with no treatment, participants in clusters where both vacant lots and abandoned homes were treated experienced significant increases in sense of community (83%, 95% CI=71 to 96%, p=0.01). Among participants in randomization clusters where only vacant lots were treated, there were declines in perceived neighborhood disorder (-55%, 95% CI=-79 to -5, p=0.06) and worry about community violence (-56%, 95% CI=-58 to - 12, p=0.06). There was also a moderating effect of racial and income spatial polarization, with the greatest changes in sense of community observed among more deprived areas with both homes and lots treated; and the largest changes in neighborhood worry and disorder were seen in more deprived areas with only lots treated. Remediation of vacant and abandoned properties may be one approach to change some but not all mindsets around health, and the effects may depend on the type of remediation as well as larger neighborhood conditions such segregation.

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  • Preprint