Statement of purpose The purpose of this study was to explore how land parcel maintenance is associated with positive mental health outcomes using data collected during community greening efforts conducted in Flint, MI in 2017–2018. Unmaintained vacant land in urban areas is associated with a number of negative outcomes for residents of urban areas, including mental and physical health, safety, and quality of life. Community programs which promote land parcel maintenance in urban neighborhoods have been found to reverse some of the effects that unmaintained land has on nearby residents.
Methods/Approach Trained observers assessed the maintenance of approximately 7200 land parcels and surveyed 691 residents (57% Female, 53% Black, M age = 51). We grouped land parcels and aggregated resident data to 397 street segments and compared three structural equation models (SEM) to estimate the relationships between parcel maintenance, fear of crime, and mental distress for residents when controlling for a set of individual-, neighborhood-, and Census-level variables.
Results We found a negative association between parcel maintenance values and fear of crime, and a positive association between fear of crime and mental distress at the street segment level.
Conclusions Our results supported our hypothesis that the general land maintenance is related to mental distress through its relationship with residents’ fear of crime.
Significance Continued development and support of community greening programs are likely to be associated with positive health and safety outcomes for residents in maintained neighborhoods.
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