Healthy neighborhoods along an urban to rural gradient

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Neighborhoods are fundamental units of planning. Over the past century, planners have presented theories on designing the ideal neighborhood. Many of these theories include recommendations for size, population, and orientation to community health needs like food stores and healthcare facilities. Neighborhood level research pays little attention to the contexts (urban, suburban, and rural) that neighborhoods are situated in. This research aims to explore the differences in neighborhood forms, characteristics, and access to community health needs (food and healthcare) in varying contexts along an urban to rural gradient. Specifically, this study (1) explores patterns in accessing community health needs and (2) identifies patterns in people’s perceived neighborhood center and boundaries in neighborhoods along an urban to rural gradient in the Wichita, Kansas, metropolitan area. This study collects data using surveys and cognitive mapping and the data is evaluated using d escriptive statistics, cross tabulations, Analysis of Variance and geo-spatial analysis. Results indicate that distances to food stores are generally smaller than distances to healthcare facilities. Variations in neighborhood access and perceptions exist. Neighborhoods along the urban to rural gradient are distinct, but suburban and rural neighborhoods appear to be more alike than suburban and urban.
urban-rural, gradient, neighborhood