Amenities, Walkability, and Neighborhood Stability: A Mixed Methods Analysis
Urban Studies and Planning
The decline of the United States housing market in late 2006 produced a momentous shift in land values and home prices across the country. Evidence of this collapse was widespread by 2008, which helped spark a global recession that nearly brought the financial world to a standstill. Much of the early attention paid to these events focused on the root causes of this collapse, yet a gap in knowledge remained as to how some urban places thrived in response while others struggled to rebound. For the purposes of this study, urban and neighborhood stability are positive terms used to describe a host of economic and community outcomes. The dissertation examines stability at the city and neighborhood scale through a longitudinal, mixed methods study, which includes multiple regression analysis, hedonic pricing models, spatial analytics, and case study methods. In the first phase of research, the research uses regression analysis to examine areas within cities that demonstrated neighborhood stability. The second phase focuses specifically on the association between housing prices, the proximity to public and private amenities, and internal and external characteristics; specifically, this assesses the extent to which spatial relationships are statistically significant. The third phase of research employs qualitative methods, using case study research and environmental psychology to triangulate data. The research finds that, while there is some evidence of a relationship between specific types of amenities and housing market stability in some cities, there is substantial evidence that variability across cities informs these associations. In terms of direct lessons for city planning, there is strong evidence supporting the value--both with respect to housing prices and community stability--of publicly funded amenities and positive urban design interventions. Further, the findings provide a counter-argument to leading theories on walkable urbanism, and the research provides insight as to the role of city planning and public policy in seeking greater outcomes for urban and neighborhood stability.