The Ups and Downs of Housing: How Rehabilitation, Foreclosure, and Gentrification Affect Health

Principal Investigators
NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Funded on

Surprisingly little is known about how housing policy and neighborhood features impact health. This study will examine several housing policies in New York City­ focused on the physical characteristics of housing, and on the conditions of neighborhoods.

The New York City Housing Authority recently received funds to rehabilitate many of its most distressed public housing developments, and the NYU Furman Center has compiled data on the allocation of these funds. The researchers will map this data to the New York State Medicaid data to assess if those who lived in renovated housing saw improvements in health outcomes relative to those whose housing was not renovated. The researchers will also look at the timing of the refurbishment to make inferences about the effects of the housing improvements.

Regarding neighborhood conditions, the NYU Furman Center conducted research demonstrating that home foreclosures contribute to increases in crime. Linking this foreclosure data to the Medicaid data will enable us to compare the health of residents living in a high-foreclosure block to residents living elsewhere.

The research team will also investigate the impacts of the Great Recession and gentrification, particularly within NYC. By examining residency patterns paired with voucher receipt, the team will study the effects on gentrification and other neighborhood changes on health and well-being.

Finally, the researchers will develop a measure of housing-sensitive health conditions using predicative analytics, and test them by examining how policy changes impact outcomes.


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At this time, little is known about the health consequences of growing up in gentrifying neighborhoods. Many observers worry that gentrification could heighten stress and undermine children’s health, but it may also bring changes to low-income areas that enhance health. Kacie Dragan, Ingrid Ellen, and Sherry A. Glied, representing P4A’s NYU Wagner Research Hub, explore these issues in a new paper, focusing on children’s physical and mental health.

In the last few decades, gentrification has grown increasingly common in cities across the country. Kacie Dragan, Ingrid Ellen, and Sherry A. Glied, representing P4A’s NYU Wagner Research Hub, released a working paper offering new evidence about the consequences of gentrification on mobility, building and neighborhood conditions.