Urban Renewal: Gentrification and Health Equity

Up to now, research has focused on the effects of urban renewal programs and their impacts on health. While some of this research point to potential negative health effects due to gentrification, evidence that addresses the complexity associated with this relation is much needed. This blog seeks to better understand, when, why and how health inequities arise from urban renewal interventions resulting in gentrification.

A realist review, systematic review method, aimed to better explain the relation between context, mechanisms and outcomes, was used. A literature search was done to identify theoretical models of how urban renewal programs can result in gentrification, which in turn can have negative impacts on health. A systematic approach was then used to identify peer-reviewed studies that provided evidence to support or refute the initial assumptions.

Urban renewal programs that resulted in gentrification tended to have negative health effects primarily on residents that were low-income. Urban renewal policies that were inclusive of populations that were vulnerable, from the beginning were less likely to positively impact health through physical and social improvements.

Research has shown that urban renewal policies have significant impacts on populations that are vulnerable and those results in gentrification can result in negative health consequences for this population. A better understanding of this is needed to impact future policies and advocate for community-participatory models that include such populations in the early planning stages.

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