Online Program

Effects of public housing demolitions on health in chicago neighborhoods: Testing the deconcentration and social capital hypotheses

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Patrick Mayne, MPH, Sociology, Brown University, Providence, RI
The “deconcentration of disadvantage” around urban public housing projects has been a major drive of public housing authorities across the country since the early 1990's. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) has been particularly active in this respect, reducing its public housing stock by 38% between 1993 and 2004, representing a loss of over 13,000 housing units. This reduction has to a large extent been justified as improving the lives of both public housing residents and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. In contrast to theories predicting positive returns to health through reduction of concentrated disadvantage, research on social capital suggests that health may actually deteriorate due to the depletion of social capital occasioned by the large-scale turnover of population in the wake of the demolition of public housing projects. This study employs a multilevel, longitudinal design to investigate whether public housing demolitions are associated with changes in self-reported health for those living nearby former public housing projects, and whether these changes are mediated by improving neighborhood conditions or depleting neighborhood social capital. Individual-level data on health and potentially confounding factors are derived from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN), a longitudinal study of children growing up in Chicago neighborhoods, followed in three waves between 1994 and 2002. Administrative data on the number of available and occupied public housing units by census tract are derived from records maintained by the CHA and HUD. This study fills a gap in the literature that has previously focused almost exclusively on effects on individuals leaving public housing projects, while ignoring the effect changes in public housing policy may have on those remaining nearby. As such, it provides evidence crucial to policy debates about the overall effects of public housing projects, and about ways to represent the needs of the broader community.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe mechanisms by which changes in public housing policy may affect individual health. Analyze the effect of the removal of public housing in Chicago on child health. Discuss public housing policies design to holistically address the needs of public housing residents and non-residents alike.

Keyword(s): Public Housing, Urban Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in sociology at Brown University, and have completed an MPH in epidemiology, focusing on the effects of migration and social capital on the health of individuals living in slums in Delhi, India. My research interests include migration, urban policy, spatial methods, and neighborhood effects on health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.