Neighborhood Change and Health: The Case of Public Housing Demolitions in Chicago

Patrick Mayne, Brown University

The “deconcentration of disadvantage” around urban public housing projects has been a major drive of public housing authorities since the early 1990’s. In contrast to theories predicting positive returns to health through reduction of concentrated disadvantage, research on collective efficacy suggests that health may actually deteriorate due to the reduction in social control occasioned by the large-scale turnover of population in the wake of the demolition of public housing projects. This study uses data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods and the Chicago Housing Authority to investigate whether proximity to public housing demolitions is associated with changes in self-reported health, and whether these changes are mediated by improving neighborhood conditions or depleting neighborhood social capital. It is found that proximity to public housing demolitions are associated with negative returns to individual health, and this association is not substantially mediated by a measures of neighborhood change.

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Presented in Poster Session 8: Adult Health and Mortality