Community change and resident needs: Designing a Participatory Action Research study in Metropolitan Boston

Mariana C. Arcaya, Alina Schnake-Mahl, Andrew Binet, Shannon Simpson, Maggie Super Church, Vedette Gavin, Bill Coleman, Shoshanna Levine, Annika Nielsen, Leigh Carroll, Sanouri Ursprung, Ben Wood, Halley Reeves, Barry Keppard, Noemie Sportiche, Jessie Partirdge, Jose Figueora, Austin Frakt, Mariel Alfonzo, Dina AbreuTatiana Abreu, Trena Ambroise, Eric Andrade, Eduardo Barrientos, Arnetta Baty, Carl Baty, Katrina Benner, Clifton Bennett, Amy Blanchette, Roseann Bongiovanni, Olivia Cardile, Cristian Corchado, Caleb Dixon, Crystal Dodson, Juan Dominguez, Mytha Durena, Yrma Fiestas, Josee Genty, Nicole Graffam, Adela Gonzalez, Emma Grigsby, Patricia Hayden, Stephanie Hernandez Alvado, Zuleyka Hernandez, Isaac Hodes, Jarred Johnson, Kathryn Keefe, Krystle Latimer, Christina Logg, Nelson Martinez, Khadijah Mboup, Doug McPhorson, Steve Meacham, Daynaba Mohammed, Emily Moss, Kathleen O'Brien, Lisa Owens, Jessie Partridge, Lillie Pearl Johnson, Maria Belen Power, Taylee Rebelo, Ronel Remy, Gail Roderigues, Qamar Sabtow, Clarisa Sanchez, Andrew Seeder, Ramon Sepulveda, Emma West, Leah Winters, Tremayne Youmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The health implications of urban development, particularly in rapidly changing, low-income urban neighborhoods, are poorly understood. We describe the Healthy Neighborhoods Study (HNS), a Participatory Action Research study examining the relationship between neighborhood change and population health in nine Massachusetts neighborhoods. Baseline data from the HNS survey show that social factors, specifically income insecurity, food insecurity, social support, experiencing discrimination, expecting to move, connectedness to the neighborhood, and local housing construction that participants believed would improve their lives, identified by a network of 45 Resident Researchers exhibited robust associations with self-rated and mental health. Resident-derived insights into relationships between neighborhoods and health may provide a powerful mechanism for residents to drive change in their communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Place
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Gentrification
  • Neighborhood
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Social determinants of health
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Urban development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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