Creating Safe And Healthy Neighborhoods With Place-Based Violence Interventions

Hohl, B. C., Kondo, M. C., Kajeepeta, S., MacDonald, J. M., Theall, K. P., Zimmerman, M. A., & Branas, C. C. (2019). Creating safe and healthy neighborhoods with place-based violence interventions. Health Affairs38(10), 1687-1694.


Violence is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States and abroad, with far-reaching consequences for individuals and communities. Interventions that address environmental and social contexts have the potential for greater population wide effects, yet research has been slow to identify and rigorously evaluate these types of interventions to reduce violence. Several urban communities across the US are conducting experimental and quasi-experimental community-based research to examine the effect of place-based interventions on violence. Using examples from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Flint, Michigan; Youngstown, Ohio; and New Orleans, Louisiana, we describe how place-based interventions that remediate vacant land and abandoned buildings work to reduce violence. These examples support the potential for place-based interventions to create far-reaching and sustainable improvements in the health and safety of communities that experience significant disadvantage. These interventions warrant the attention of community stakeholders, funders, and policy makers.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Health conditions; Health policy; Mental health; Neighborhoods; Public health; Social determinants of health; Stress; Violence.