Background Influence

Decay: abandoned buildings, substandard housing

Parent construct: Physical environment

Much research shows that neighborhoods with greater physical disorder (i.e., abandoned buildings, trash, and decaying structures) have higher levels of social problems, including crime, higher levels of fear, lack of social cohesion and more physical illness.1

While it might seem surprising, simple community-based activities by children and youth to tidy the neighborhood—such as pick up trash, plant flowers, paint exteriors can and do affect ratings by adults of the perceived safety of the neighorhood.2,3,4,5

Policies on zoning can be used for condemn troublesome property, which can then be the target of new building, low-income housing, community resources, etc.

Related Interventions




References Cited

  1. Sampson, R.J., Morenoff, J.D., & Gannon-Rowley, T. (2002). Assessing "neighborhood effects": Social processes and new directions in research. Annual Review of Sociology, 28, 443-478.  

  2. Palmer EJ, Hollin CR, Caulfield LS. Surveying Fear: Crime, Buses and New Paint. Crime Prevention and Community Safety 2005;7(4):47-58.  

  3. Hart D, Donnelly TM, Youniss J, Atkins R. High school community service as a predictor of adult voting and volunteering. American Educational Research Journal 2007;44(1):197-219.  

  4. Planty M, Bozick R, Regnier M. Helping Because You Have To or Helping Because You Want To?: Sustaining Participation in Service Work From Adolescence Through Young Adulthood. Youth & Society 2006;38(2):177-202.  

  5. McGuire JK, Gamble WC. Community service for youth: The value of psychological engagement over number of hours spent. Journal of Adolescence 2006;29(2):289-98.