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Healthy Neighborhoods Study: Participatory Action Research and a Community First Approach

Written by Build Healthy Places Staff on July 28, 2023

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Build Healthy Places Network’s Video Snapshots offer quick deep dives with experts from the community development, health, and finance sectors. Our current series uplifts practices that support community engagement processes and projects that are community-led and owned. Learn from practitioners from across sectors, who together are working to make neighborhoods healthier through centering the voices of residents.

The latest interview in our series features experts who share insights from the Healthy Neighborhoods Study, a participatory action research study that explores how new developments change neighborhood conditions and how those changes impact the health and well-being of people living there.

In this video snapshot, Build Healthy Places Network’s Ashley Hernandez speaks with Vedette Gavin from Verge Impact Partners and Andrew Seeder from Conservation Law Foundation. Vedette is a senior research consultant and CO Principal Investigator and Andrew is a research scientist for participatory methods and training for the Healthy Neighborhoods Study. 

During this discussion, Vedette and Andrew dive into the participatory action research (PAR) process and explain how PAR can support a community first model by prioritizing the experience of residents when evaluating what matters most for the health of a community. This approach can be used to impact neighborhood change so that it shifts power to residents, helping them gain more control over developments in their communities. Vedette and Andrew discuss how institutions working to prioritize community voice and engagement should identify their impacts on neighborhoods, create safe spaces, and build trust with residents to create meaningful investments that benefit those who are impacted. 


The Healthy Neighborhoods Study website 

Conservation Law Foundation: Overview of the Healthy Neighborhoods Study