There is substantial evidence of neighborhood differences in health, whereby those living in 'poor' neighborhoods have worse health than those living in better offneighborhoods. Potential explanations for this have focused on the concentrations of particular types of people within a neighborhood (its composition) and also on the characteristics of neighborhoods themselves (the context). There is evidence that there is something about neighborhoods that can be health promoting or health damaging, beyond the sociodemographic composition of neighborhoods. This article discusses the relevance of the 'social infrastructure' of neighborhoods in contributing to people's health, in particular, the role that social capital, fear of crime, and area stigma and reputation can play in contributing to positive (or negative) social environments that can in turn affect health. This is considered also in light of theory and evidence that predicts that individuals within neighborhoods may experience this social environment differently, and that the social, physical, and material environments of neighborhoods are likely to be strongly interrelated. It is concluded that efforts to optimize the social infrastructure of neighborhoods must also attempt to address the material determinants of health.
|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Environmental Health|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2011|
- Fear of crime
- Social capital
- Social networks