Advertisement

Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Neighborhood Urban Form, Social Environment, and Depression

  • Rebecca MilesEmail author
  • Christopher Coutts
  • Asal Mohamadi
Article

Abstract

We examined whether neighborhood urban form, along with the social environment, was associated with depressive symptoms in a sample of Miami residents. Using a validated measure of depressive symptoms, we found that living in neighborhoods with higher housing density was associated with fewer symptoms. A larger acreage of green spaces was also linked to fewer depressive symptoms but did not reach significance in the full model. Our results suggest that how residents use the environment matters. Living in neighborhoods with a higher density of auto commuters relative to land area, an indicator of chronic noise exposure, was associated with more symptoms.

Keywords

Urban form Depression Social environment Mental health Miami 

References

  1. 1.
    Clark C, Myron R, Stansfeld SA, Candy B. A systematic review of the evidence on the effect of the built and physical environment on mental health. J Public Mental Health. 2007; 6(2): 14–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mair C, Roux AVD, Galea S. Are neighbourhood characteristics associated with depressive symptoms? A review of evidence. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2008; 62(11): 940–946.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Congress of New Urbanism. New Urban Projects on a Neighborhood Scale in the United States. Ithaca, NY: New Urban News; 2002Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Creating Livable Neighborhoods Web Site. http://www.newurbanism.org. Accessed August 10, 2010.
  5. 5.
    Duany A, Plater-Zyberk E, Speck S. Suburban Nation: the Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 2001.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Frumkin H, Frank L, Jackson R. The Public Health Impacts of Sprawl. Washington, DC: Island Press; 2004.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lund H. Testing the claims of New Urbanism: local access, pedestrian travel and neighboring behaviours. J Am Plann Assoc. 2003; 69: 414–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kawachi I, Berkman LF. Social ties and mental health. J Urban Health. 2001; 78: 458–467.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Babyak M, Blumenthal J, Herman S, et al. Exercise treatment for major depression: maintenance of therapeutic benefit at 10 months. Psychosom Med. 2000; 62(5): 633–638.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ross C, Hayes D. Exercise and psychological well-being in the community. Am J Epidemiolog. 1988; 127: 762–771.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Stephens T. Physical activity and mental health in the United States and Canada: evidence from four population surveys. Prev Med. 1988; 17: 35–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    World Health Organization. Global Burden of Disease: 2004 Update. http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/2004_report_update/en/index.html. Accessed April 11, 2011.
  13. 13.
    Depression in the United States Household Population, 2005–2006. NCHS Data Brief, No.7, September 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db07.pdf. Accessed December 9, 2009.
  14. 14.
    Matheson FI, Moineddin R, Dunn JR, Creatore MI, Gozdyra P, Glazier RH. Urban neighborhoods, chronic stress, gender and depression. Soc Sci Med. 2006; 63(10): 2604–2616.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Silver E, Mulvey EP, Swanson JW. Neighborhood structural characteristics and mental disorder: Faris and Dunham revisited. Soc Sci Med. 2002; 55: 1457–1470.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Aneshensel CS, Wright RG, Miler-Martinez D, et al. Urban neighborhoods and depressive symptoms among older adults. J Geronol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2007; 62: S52–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ross CE, Reynolds JR, Geis KJ. The contingent meaning of neighborhood stability for residents’ psychological well-being. Am Sociol Rev. 2000; 65(4): 581–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Glass TA, Balfour JL. Neighborhoods, aging, and functional limitations. In: Kawachi I, Berkman LF, eds. Neighborhoods and Health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2003.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Guite HF, Clark C, Ackrill G. The impact of the physical and urban environment on mental well-being. Public Health. 2006; 120(12): 1117–1126.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kaplan R, Kaplan S. The experience of nature. A psychological perspective. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press; 1989.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Nielsen TS, Hansen KB. Do green areas affect health? Results from a Danish survey on the use of green areas and health indicators. Health Place. 2007; 13(4): 839–850.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hartig T, Mang M, Evans GW. Restorative effects of natural environment experiences. Environ Behav. 1991; 23: 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ulrich RS, Simons RF. Stress recovery during exposure to natural urban environments. J Environ Psychol. 1991; 11: 201–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Maller C, Townsend M, Pryor A, Brown P, St Leger L. Healthy nature healthy people: ‘contact with nature’ as an upstream health promotion intervention for populations. Health Promot Int. 2006; 21(1): 45–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cohen D, McKenzie T, Sehgal A, Williamson S, Golinelli D, Lurie N. Contribution of public parks to physical activity. Am J Public Health. 2007; 97(3): 509–514.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Witten K, Hiscock R, Pearce J, Blakely T. Neighborhood access to open spaces and physical activity of residents: a national study. Prev Med. 2008; 47: 299–303.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mitchell R, Popham F. Greenspace, urbanity and health: relationships in England. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007; 61: 681–683.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Giles-Corti B, Brommhall M, Knuiman M, et al. Increasing walking: how important is distance to, attractiveness, and size of public open space? Am J Prev Med. 2005; 28(2S2): 169–176.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kaczynski A, Potwara L, Smale B, Havitz M. Association between parkland proximity with neighborhood and park-based physical activity: variations by gender and age. Leisure Sci. 2009; 31: 174–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hillsdon M, Panter J, Foster C, Jones A. The relationship between access and quality of urban green space with population physical activity. Public Health. 2006; 120: 1127–1132.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Maas J, Verheij R, Spreewenberg P, Groenewegen P. Physical activity as a possible mechanism behind the relationship between green space and health: a multilevel analysis. BMC Public Health. 2008; 8: 206–218.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Transportation Research Board (TRB) and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM). Does the built environment influence physical activity? Examining the evidence. Special Report 282 ISBN 0-309-09498-4. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board; 2005Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Handy SL, Boarnet MG, Ewing R, Killingsworth RE. How the built environment affects physical activity: views from urban planning. Am J Prev Med. 2002; 23: 64–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    King WC, Brach JS, Belle S, Killingsworth R, Fenton M, Kriska AM. The relationship between convenience of destinations and walking levels in older women. Am J Health Promot. 2003; 18(1): 74–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Cervero R, Kockelman K. Travel demand and the 3Ds: density, diversity, and design. Transp Res Part D. 1997; 2(3): 199–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Turner RJ, Lloyd DA, Taylor J. Physical disability and mental health: an epidemiology of psychiatric and substance disorders. Rehabil Psychol. 2006; 51(3): 214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Coutts C, Horner M, Chapin T. Using GIS to model the effects of green space accessibility on mortality in Florida. Geocarto Int. 2010; 25(6): 471–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Song Y, Rodriguez D. The measurement of the level of mixed land uses: A synthetic approach. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina; 2004. http://planningandactivity.unc.edu/Mixed%20land%20uses%20White%20Paper.pdf. Accessed December 10, 2005.
  39. 39.
    Raudenbush SW. The quantitative assessment of neighborhood social environments. In: Kawachi I, Berkman LF, eds. Neighborhoods and Health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2003: 112–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Sampson RJ, Morenoff JD, Gannon-Rowley T. Assessing “Neighborhood Effects”: social processes and new directions in research. Annu Rev Sociol. 2002; 28: 443–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Land KC, McCall PL, Cohen LE. Structural covariates of homicide rates: are there any invariances across time and social space? AJS. 1990; 95(4): 922–963.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Miles-Doan R. Violence between spouses and intimates: does neighborhood context matter? Soc Forces. 1998; 77(2): 623–645.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Radloff L. The CES-D scale: a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Appl Psychol Meas. 1977; 1(3): 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Weissman MM, Sholomskas D, Pottenger M, Prusoff BA, Locke BZ. Assessing depressive symptoms in five psychiatric populations: a validation study. Am J Epidemiol. 1977; 106(3): 203.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Roberts RE. Reliability of the CES-D Scale in different ethnic contexts. Psychiatry Res. 1980; 2(2): 125–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Hall P. Cities of Tomorrow. Oxford, England: Blackwell; 2002.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Berube A, Frey WH. A decade of mixed blessings: urban and suburban poverty in census 2000. In: Berube A, Katz B, Lang RE, eds. Redefining Urban & Suburban America: Evidence from Census 2000, vol. II. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution; 2005: 111–136.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Conger AJ. A revised definition for suppressor variables: a guide to their identification and interpretation. Educ Psychol Meas. 1974; 34(1): 35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Bramley G, Power S. Urban form and social sustainability: the role of density and housing type. Environ Plann B: Plann Des. 2009; 36: 30–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Gee GC, Takeuchi DTDT. Traffic stress, vehicular burden and well-being: a multilevel analysis. Soc Sci Med. 2004; 59(2): 405–414.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Miles
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher Coutts
    • 1
  • Asal Mohamadi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Urban and Regional PlanningFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Georgia Southern UniversityCollege of Public HealthStatesboroUSA

Personalised recommendations