Exploring residents’ perceptions of neighborhood development and revitalization for active living opportunities

Key takeaways:

  • Adding sidewalks, stop signs, and bike paths - in neighborhoods, to increase opportunities for physical activity can have unintended social, development, and economic consequences for current residents.
  • In low-income neighborhoods, resident concerns about the potential impact on cost of living and being forced from their homes, can become a barrier to changes intended to increase physical activity. Community engagement must be an integral part of projects that improve healthy community design.
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration – transportation, housing, health, planning, government - provides the most significant benefit to improving the health and lives of residents in disinvested communities facing revitalization.
  • Resident concerns about the impact of revitalization on the cost of living in their neighborhood decreased with increasing age. Concerns increased with increasing education and physical activity levels.
  • Neighborhood residents can be simultaneously concerned and supportive of changes in the built environment, especially if the changes will provide increased opportunity for active living.
  • New businesses and condominiums caused the most concern for residents, followed by the development of new parks and recreation facilities.


  • Understanding the community’s perception of growth is vital. Residents can be both concerned about and supportive of active transportation and related projects. Resident participation in planning new development is vital to the future well-being of the neighborhood.
  • Recognizing that changes identified as revitalization will impact the cost of living, it is imperative that marginalized residents be given an equitable voice throughout the planning process. This requires building trust in the community.
  • Residents’ greatest concerns focus on projects that will have the greatest economic impact such as new businesses, condos, parks, and recreation facilities. The interconnection between all areas of planning – housing, transportation, health, retail, and commercial – should be a primary consideration. This requires interagency and cross-sector collaboration in community planning from the earliest stages through implementation.


Dsouza, N., Serrano, N., Watson, K.B., McMahon, J., Devlin, H.M., Lemon, S.C., Eyler, A.A., Gustat, J., and Hirsch, J. (2022). Exploring residents’ perceptions of neighborhood development and revitalization for active living opportunities. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 19.

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