Testing the impact of a planning policy based on new urbanist planning principles on residents’ sense of community and mental health in Perth, Western Australia

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Abstract

There is growing concern that the built forms resulting from conventional suburban design may be adversely affecting the social well-being, sense of community, and psychological health of its residents. This study tested the premise that suburban neighborhood developments (n = 36) designed in accordance with a New Urbanist inspired planning policy in Perth, Western Australia, improved residents’ (n = 644) sense of community and mental health. Findings revealed that with each 10% increase in policy compliance, residents odds of experiencing high sense of community increased by 21% (OR = 1.21, 95% CI = [1.04, 1.41]) and low psychological distress increased by 14% (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = [1.01, 1.28]). These results add empirical input to the debate surrounding the rhetoric and purported social goals and benefits of the New Urbanism, indicating that implementation of its neo-traditionalist neighborhood design principles may help create the conditions for positive neighborhood sense of community and mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-339
Number of pages35
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Volume52
Issue number3
Early online date30 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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