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Urban Residents’ Priorities for Neighborhood Features

A Survey of New Orleans Residents After Hurricane Katrina
  • Traci Hong
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Traci Hong, PhD, Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2301, New Orleans LA 70112.
    Affiliations
    Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
    Search for articles by this author
  • Thomas A. Farley
    Affiliations
    Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
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      Background

      Efforts to promote physical activity through environmental changes in low-income, urban, and minority areas should be informed by an understanding of the value that residents place on different neighborhood features and characteristics.

      Methods

      Neighborhood rebuilding preferences among 442 New Orleans residents after the damage from Hurricane Katrina were assessed by a random-digit-dialed telephone survey conducted between April 25, 2006 and May 2, 2006. The survey instrument assessed the importance (on a 5-point Likert-type scale on which 1=not at all important and 5=extremely important) for 24 neighborhood features and characteristics. Ratings of neighborhood features were compared by race and income.

      Results

      Overall, residents rated most highly the features that reflected low levels of neighborhood crime and disorder. There was moderate support for features that promote physical activity, specifically sidewalks and crosswalks, neighborhood grocery stores, and parks or playgrounds. Blacks rated more highly than whites 13 neighborhood features such as good schools, lack of noise, a park or playground, affordable housing, health clinics, and the absence of liquor stores. The low-income group rated the following features as being more important than the high-income group: affordable housing, a bus or streetcar line, and the presence of a corner store.

      Conclusions

      New Orleans residents’ top neighborhood priority is reducing crime and disorder, but all groups otherwise support neighborhood features that promote physical activity.
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