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Eyes on the block: Measuring urban physical disorder through in-person observation

Publication Abstract

Jones, Malia, Anne R R. Pebley, and Narayan Sastry. 2011. "Eyes on the block: Measuring urban physical disorder through in-person observation." Social Science Research, 40(2): 523-537.

In this paper, we present results from measuring physical disorder in Los Angeles neighborhoods. Disorder measures came from structured observations conducted by trained field interviewers. We examine inter-rater reliability of disorder measures in depth. We assess the effects of observation conditions on the reliability of reporting. Finally, we examine the relationships between disorder, other indicators of neighborhood status, and selected individual outcomes.Our results indicate that there is considerable variation in the level of agreement among independent observations across items, although overall agreement is moderate to high. Durable indicators of disorder provide the most reliable measures of neighborhood conditions. Circumstances of observation have statistically significant effects on the observers' perceived level of disorder. Physical disorder is significantly related to other indicators of neighborhood status, and to children's reading and behavior development. This result suggests a need for further research into the effects of neighborhood disorder on children.

DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.11.007 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3106307. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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