Participatory action research for enironmental health: Encountering Feire in the urban barrio

Erualdo Romeo González, Raul P. Lejano, Guadalupe Vidales, Ross F. Conner, Yuki Kidokoro, Bahram Fazeli, Robert Cabrales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The community-based approach to health research and intervention is a model of inquiry rooted in Freire's participatory action research (PAR). We need to show, in concept and practice, what it is about PAR that may be well suited for the types of health issues we encounter in inner-city environments. What type of learning results, how does this respond to particular health issues in the urban context, and what are the particular challenges faced in translating Freire's model into today's urban setting?To investigate these questions, we describe a recent PAR project in Southeast Los Angeles, California - an area known to some as "Asthmatown." One salient finding of the research is that PAR allows the integration of complex and multiple forms of knowledge, and this is a necessary response to the complex and multiplex nature of cumulative impacts. There are challenges to translating the model to the urban setting, however, such as the difficulties of participation in today's urban milieu. The research leads to some lessons for practitioners, such as the need to build "constant" elements into PAR projects. Lastly, we reflect on implications of this model for institutional reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-100
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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