3 years ago

Invited Commentary: Observing Neighborhood Physical Disorder in an Age of Technological Innovation.

Hwang J
Researchers across several disciplines have argued that the characteristics of neighborhood environments can affect a variety of individual- and neighborhood-level outcomes. Physical disorder is one feature of neighborhoods that scholars have argued is important, but data that capture physical disorder have been limited because of the time and resources required for in-person audits. The advent of Google Street View, which provides publicly available street-level imagery with nearly complete coverage of the United States, opens new possibilities for researchers. In this issue of the Journal, Mooney et al. (Am J Epidemiol. 2017;186(3):265-273) compare in-person and virtual audits in Detroit, Michigan, and demonstrate that virtual audits offer key advantages to measuring neighborhood physical disorder over in-person audits, including substantial reductions in time and resources with little to no loss of measurement precision. In this invited commentary, I welcome the use of virtual audits for advancing the study of neighborhoods and outline areas in which they can advance understanding of neighborhood effects. I also describe areas of caution in their implementation and outline how new innovations can advance the use of virtual audits for furthering understanding of neighborhood environments.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28899029

DOI: PubMed:28899029

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