This journal discusses the concept of neighborhoods and health using a GIS approach to measure the resource accessibility for a community in New Zealand. Per the journal, recent studies provide a correlation between contextual traits of neighborhoods and the health of the residents that live there. Unfortunately, there has been a scarcity of studies done regarding this subject. Thus, Jamie Pearce, Karen Witten and Phil Bartie created this journal and to show the development of a new groundbreaking methodology to investigate geographical access to resources that are linked to health. In terms of GIS, it was applied to ensure a precise, relevant and understandable development of community resource measurements.
This was conducted with respect to locational aspects (shopping malls, education, recreation, health facilities) for all the 38 – 350 census mesh blocks across New Zealand. With the use of GIS, distance measurements were calculated using the weighted population center of each mesh block with relation to 16 facilities that were identified as potential health related. In other words, it measured the time between residential areas to health facilities of all types. The study proved that the basic average travel time fell between less than one minute to more than 244 minutes. Furthermore, there was considerably noticeable differences were also apparent between neighborhoods within urban areas.
This study in conclusion proved that with advances in GIS, it is now easier to directly measure access specific health related resources at the neighborhood residential level. With the high average travel times as noted and as expressed in the figures, it incentivizes for the construction of individualized community resources which will enable researchers to investigate with a more accurate notation of the impact that specific health outcomes have on neighborhoods.
J Epidemiol Community Health 2006;60:389–395. doi: 10.1136/jech.2005.043281