A study published in Applied Geography links well-kept vacant lots and lower crime levels. Researchers found that “Maintaining the yards of vacant properties helps reduce crime rates in urban neighborhoods.” Data were collected over 9 years in Flint, Michigan: “’We’ve always had a sense that maintaining these properties helps reduce crime and the perception of crime,’ said Christina Kelly, the land bank’s [Genesee County Land Bank Authority] planning and neighborhood revitalization director.
Won, Lee, and Li studied links between walkability and foreclosure spillover effects (such as property prices declining near foreclosures). They determined that “property values in walkable neighborhoods were less subject to foreclosure spillover, but this was only significant for middle/high-income neighborhoods. Walkable neighborhoods were shown to offer more advantages in maintaining neighborhood stability during the recovery of 2013 than in the market crash of 2010.
Researchers from the Universities of York and Edinburgh studied responses to busy and green urban spaces. They determined that among the people over 65 who participated in their study “Walking between busy urban environments and green spaces triggers changes in levels of excitement, engagement and frustration in the brain. . . . volunteers. . . wore a mobile EEG head-set which recorded their brain activity when walking between busy and green urban spaces. The research team also ran a video of the routes the people walked, asking the participants to describe ‘snapshots’ of how they felt.
Researchers studied ties between neighborhood noise levels and body mass index. Their study “links the sounds of all-night car horn blasts and shouting by bar revelers in New York City’s noisiest neighborhoods to unexplained improvements in body weight and blood pressure for the urban poor living there. ‘To be clear, we’re not saying that neighborhood noise causes better health, and a lot of further research is needed to explain the relationship we found between this kind of disturbance and health,’ says senior study investigator and NYU Langone epidemiologist Dustin Duncan, ScD.
Insights on creating cities that support residents, visitors, and their technologies
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Zuniga-Teran and her team have extensively investigated how neighborhood design influences physical activity and wellbeing. They studied “four types of neighborhood designs: traditional development [these include homes and accessible commercial spaces], suburban development, enclosed [gated] community, and cluster housing development [which generally preserve natural/green spaces and include townhouse-type homes], and assess their level of walkability and their effects on physical activity and wellbeing. . . . traditional development showed . . .
Bedrosian and Nelson studied how being exposed to light at night influences wellbeing and mood. They share that “Many systems are under circadian control, including sleep–wake behavior, hormone secretion, cellular function and gene expression. Circadian disruption by nighttime light perturbs those processes and is associated with increasing incidence of certain cancers, metabolic dysfunction and mood disorders. . . .
‘Tis the time of the tiny homes.