Healthy Neighborhoods Research Study Indicators Report, 2016

Good health begins at home, in neighborhoods – the places people live, work, play, learn and grow. Years of research have proven that neighborhood environments can help or harm residents’ health. Some neighborhoods have been well resourced and developed to have features and amenities that are proven to support good health like clean air, water and soil, quality housing, healthy food, and walkable streets. At the same time, other communities have gone decades without significant investments in development, and lack many of those same health-promoting features.

Today, investing in building healthy places is one of the most significant ways to transform neighborhood conditions and improve population health. Specifically, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) – defined as higher-density development with a mix of uses (i.e. housing, commercial, retail or green space) that is located within walking distance of transit – is one of the most promising development practices to improve neighborhood conditions. CLF invests in building healthy places through the Healthy
Neighborhood Equity Fund (HNEF) – a $30 million private real-estate fund that invests in TOD projects that create housing, retail and amenities for people with a mix of incomes in communities across Massachusetts.

The Healthy Neighborhoods Study (HNS) aims to better understand the relationship between development (particularly TOD-related developments such as those supported by HNEF), neighborhood conditions, and health. HNS is a partnership between communities and institutions invested in building healthy places. The study tracks measures in health, development, neighborhood conditions and resident experiences in nine Massachusetts communities over 8–10 years to learn how places, people, and health change over time as development unfolds.