Where we live, perhaps more than our genetic code can often determine our short-and long-term health outcomes. Studies have shown that the physical conditions within our residences and the surrounding neighborhood along with the cost burdens of housing can directly affect our health. Substandard housing can expose occupants and visitors to poor indoor air quality, mold, lead, and infestations which can lead to or exacerbate asthma and other respiratory illnesses, lead poisoning, learning and behavioral problems, and other serious health issues.
Building on its national literature review on blight, in 2016 the VPR Network launched a series of activities to explore the public health impacts and influence from vacant properties and the interventions that communities deploy to prevent and abate them:
- Urban Blight and Public Health Research and Translation Brief
- Working Group and Practitioner—Researcher Roundtables
- Health Impact Assessment of Memphis Code Enforcement Interventions to Address Substandard Rental Housing (a grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
Our goal is to help policymakers and practitioners understand and assess the public health impacts of their housing and community development programs, perhaps even help improve them, by illustrating how changes to housing and the built environment can improve the public health of residents and neighborhoods.