current Project

Neighborhood charm & disorder

Physical disorder is defined as the deterioration of urban landscapes, typically defined as graffiti, litter, and damaged or decrepit buildings. Physical disorder is associated with psychological distress, poor self-rated health, and impaired physical function. But research studies may underestimate the magnitude of established health effects given common constructions of disorder. Additionally, absent in the literature is an elucidation of the kinds of features in the urban environment that are perceived as attractive. Although physical disorder is harmful, there has been no empirical research of the "inverse" of disorder—neighborhood charm. Charm is instead construed as a departure from an implicit reference point of disorder. Elements of charm are implicitly assumed, yet empirically underdeveloped.