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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: Surrounding Community Residents’ Expectations of HOPE VI for their Community, Health, and Physical Activity

Economic disadvantage has been linked to adverse outcomes in several domains, including health and social and community well-being. To reduce the negative effects of social and economic context on community and health related outcomes, policies that encourage residential mixing among residents of different social class statuses, neighborhood renewal strategies, and smart planning have emerged. One such federal initiative, HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere), launched by Congress in 1992, aims to reduce the effects of concentrated poverty by creating mixed-income housing developments in low-income communities with minimal displacement of surrounding residents.

Keita, Akilah
[Photo: Dr. Akilah Dulin Keita]

The purpose of this study, led by Dr. Akilah Dulin Keita, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences, was to examine surrounding community residents’ perceived implications of a HOPE VI development for the community, health, and physical activity in their Birmingham, AL neighborhood. Content mapping, a methodology that produces pictures or maps of ideas or concepts development by an individual or group, was used to guide data collection and analysis.

Residents’ rated increased pride in the neighborhood and increased safety as the most important factors related to the HOPE VI development, whereas drawbacks of HOPE VI was rated as least important. Improved aesthetics, improved public services, increased physical activity, revitalized community and business, and improved neighborhood outlook were also commonly cited and rated as highly important potential outcomes.

This research provides insight into the potential impacts of housing initiatives from the perspective of those most affected by such initiatives. The findings also highlight environmental changes as potential mechanisms that may improve residents’ perceptions of the community and encourage healthy lifestyles.

This study was published in Journal of Community Practice, Volume 84, Issue 1.

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