Transit-Oriented Urban Economic Development and Changes in Crime and Drug Use
Magdalena Cerda, The New York Academy of Medicine
Kimberly Tessari, University of Michigan
Ana Diez Roux, University of Michigan
Neighborhood-level interventions provide an opportunity to better understand the impact that neighborhoods have on health. We used an exogenous source of neighborhood change in Medellín, Colombia--the construction of a gondola in 2004 to connect residents in the periphery to the urban center--as a natural experiment to study the effect of neighborhood change on health. We used a pre-post design with intervention neighborhoods (n=22) matched to control neighborhoods (n=27) and residents (n=599) interviewed in 2003 and 2009. Treatment group residents experienced significantly more change over time in the following outcomes: (a) trust in the police (+), (b) perceptions of collective efficacy (+), (c) ratings of the quality of neighborhood infrastructure (+), (d) perceptions of neighborhood violence (-), (e) use of alcohol (-); and (f) homicide (-). This is one of the first attempts to capitalize on exogenous changes to evaluate the impact that neighborhood characteristics have on health.