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
Number of pages35
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Early online date30 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Sep 2018

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