The role of negative urban environmental quality in neighborhood population change
Sein, Wahler Sanhtway
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This study examines the relationship between changes in neighborhood population and the presence of multiple urban hazards (negative urban environmental qualities). Changes in neighborhood population indicate neighborhood growth or decline. In general, neighborhood decline can happen due to two different causes: (a) the concentration of social and physical hazards in the neighborhood; and (b) the increasing attractiveness of other locations for business and economic activities. In this study, the focus is only on the role that social and physical hazards play in neighborhood population change (neighborhood decline). Ignored are factors such as anticipated capital gains in the value of homes and proximity to professional and commercial services. Negative urban environmental qualities are measured by multiple urban hazards such as the presence of hazardous waste sites, abandoned properties, and crimes. The study area is Erie County in the Buffalo metropolitan area of New York State. This study is conducted at the geographical scale of census block groups. Census block groups represent neighborhoods. This study tries to answer the following questions: (1) to what degree does the presence of negative urban environmental quality affect the population of neighborhoods? and (2) Can changes in the neighborhood population be explained by variation in the number and extent (severity) of multiple urban environmental hazards? The result of the study indicates that the significant factors affecting neighborhood population change are socioeconomic factors such as employment and incomes, and social hazards such as crime and school district quality of the neighborhood. Physical hazards such as the presence of polluted properties, vacant properties and locally unwanted land use (LULU) have little or no significant effect on neighborhood population change.