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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Curtis, S.E., Cave, B. & Coutts, A. Is urban regeneration good for health? Perceptions and theories of the health impacts of urban change. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy. 2002;20:517-534.

Author(s) from Durham


An important issue for the geography of health in urban areas concerns how urban change arising from renewal of inner-city areas relates to health of urban populations. In this paper we examine ways in which urban regeneration schemes in Britain are attempting to incorporate consideration of health impact into their planning and development. It concentrates especially on diverse ways that different stakeholders perceive the outcomes of these schemes and the significance for health. The paper is based on two case studies of urban development projects, focusing on housing improvement and training for unemployed people, in a London borough where levels of deprivation are high and various forms of social exclusion affect large numbers of people. The methods used aimed to represent the views of different types of stakeholders, by means of interviews and focus groups with a range of stakeholders in these schemes. Health impact assessment needs to be evidence based. We discuss the evidence for potential health impact of regeneration projects through effects on housing and employment as determinants of health. We focus especially on the ways in which this evidence can be viewed and used by different stakeholders, and how far their perceptions seemed to match with research findings from public health. We consider the potential and the limitations for health improvement associated with urban regeneration in view of the case studies presented here.


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Department of Geography