From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

GoWell: the Impacts of Housing and Neighbourhood Change

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The GoWell study transferred to the Neighbourhoods and Health team in 2014. Current information about the study can be found here.

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and contains some of its most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Following the largest stock transfer of social housing in UK history (from Glasgow City Council to Glasgow Housing Association), it is also experiencing a mammoth programme of multi-faceted community regeneration. 

The GoWell Programme captures the nature of this transformation and provides regular evaluations of its impact on residents' health and well being. It involves repeat cross-sectional studies sampling 6,000 residents in neighbourhoods across Glasgow; a longitudinal study of residents who relocate; and qualitative research, routine data analysis and neighbourhood audits. 

GoWell is being undertaken by a partnership of research organisations within and related to the University of Glasgow, combining expertise in the fields of health, housing and neighbourhood change. The study is funded by:

  • Glasgow Housing Association
  • the Glasgow Centre for Population Health
  • Communities Scotland, NHS Health Scotland
  • NHS Greater Glasgow
  • the University of Glasgow.

 See: for more information.


Further GoWell studies include: 


GoWell Wider Action studies

A number of Wider Action studies were conducted previously. These include: 


GoWell Neigbourhood Audits


In 2006, we undertook a neighbourhood audit to assess the quality of the housing and local environment in the GoWell areas. We assessed the appearance, attractiveness and physical features of the housing and immediate surroundings of around 100 addresses in the GoWell neighbourhoods. We also collected information on the level and quality of amenity provision within the local area, as well as access and public transport links to key services outside the area (such as emergency services, leisure facilities etc.).
We are currently using the neighbourhood audit data along with data from the GoWell baseline survey to investigate which neighbourhood characteristics affect residents’ feelings and impressions about an area, as well as self-reported health.
This neighbourhood audit has been useful to help us describe the physical composition and quality of the different GoWell areas. The audit provides a useful record of the physical appearance of the GoWell areas at the start of the regeneration process and will allow us to systematically monitor changes in the local areas and neighbourhood quality over time.

Effects of Tenure Mix on Life of Communities


A key component of change in several of the GoWell study areas is tenure restructuring to produce mixed-tenure, mixed-income communities as a replacement or adaptation of existing mono-tenure, social housing areas. The goal of achieving such mixed communities has become the predominant approach to development and regeneration strategies over the past decade or so, and is now clearly expressed in housing policy, in general statements of urban policy and regeneration strategy, as well as in planning guidance. The expected benefits of mixed tenure range across economic, social, environmental and psychological impacts.

In the UK, there have been several reviews of the evidence for mixed communities and/or mixed tenure effects in recent years. These reviews have reported little or no evidence for expected effects of mixed tenure, little attention to the way it is delivered and a lack of focus on how mixed tenure might affect existing housing areas, as opposed to new housing estates.

To examine the likely effects of mixed tenure the GoWell team has undertaken a series of studies. We have undertaken:

  1. A review of reviews of mixed tenure and a systematic review of primary studies in the United Kingdom to assess the quality of the evidence of the effects of tenure mix.
  2. A review of council documents and interviews with stakeholders (e.g., at Glasgow City Council) to produce a history of tenure diversification processes in three estates in Glasgow: Drumchapel, Castlemilk and Gorbals, producing a brief history of the tenure diversification process.
  3. An analysis of tenure spatial distribution. Neighbourhoods may have similar proportions of home owners, private renters and social renters and thus be perceived as equally mixed, but their spatial configuration may differ (e.g., enclaves or pockets of private housing) and thus impact on the likely outcomes of mixed tenure. Configurations are rarely examined when assessing the effectiveness of tenure mix.
  4. A qualitative study of residents’ perceptions in the Drumchapel, Castlemilk and Gorbals. Within these areas we have sampled areas of different levels of integration between social renters and owners – integrated, segmented or segregated using the spatial configuration maps described above.


Study with Stakeholders

This study explored issues with professionals and practitioners who were involved in the development or management of the estates over time. Tenure mixing in these communities appears to have contributed to some extent to improvements in housing and wider environmental conditions, improved area reputations, and sustainable communities.

However, these outcomes were not attained equally by all three estates. Further, it was clear from participants in this study that policies and activities that provided better housing as well as policies aimed at producing mixed tenure communities were necessary but not sufficient to improve the health and well-being of the residents.

Study with Residents

Many similarities between owners and social renters living in the three estates were found but also some clear differences, especially between the Gorbals and the peripheral estates. Incremental regeneration as experienced in the peripheral estates appears to have been less successful than the more radical ‘purpose built' regeneration experienced in the Gorbals.

Mixed tenure is generally perceived as positive by residents. They see many benefits of living in their neighbourhoods and appreciate the improved housing and neighbourhood environment, but they recognise that new housing and improved environments do not address the many problems in these estates.


Qualitative research on experiences of regeneration.


GoWell is a mixed methods study including both quantitative and qualitative research strands. Since 2010, two related studies have been exploring residents’ experiences of living in neighbourhoods undergoing physical and social regeneration.

The GoWell Lived Realities study aims to explore whether and how the everyday experiences of adult resident are affected by changes affecting their homes and neighbourhoods associated with neighbourhood renewal. This work is led by Louise Lawson (Urban Studies, University of Glasgow) and Matt Egan (SPHSU). Similarly, the GoWell Young People’s study seeks to explore how young people’s perspectives of everyday life in disadvantaged neighbourhoods undergoing change.  This study is being undertaken as a PhD by Joanne Neary, supervised by Lyndal Bond and Louise Lawson.

Both the Lived Realities and Young People’s studies adopt a phenomenological approach and use a combination of research methods including in-depth interviews, participants’ photography and ‘Go-Alongs’ in which participants are invited to provide researchers with guided tours of their neighbourhoods.  



Bond L, Egan M, Kearns A, Tannahill C. GoWell: The challenges of evaluating regeneration as a population health intervention. Preventive Medicine 2013;57:941-947

open access  

Bond L, Kearns A, Tannahill C, Egan M, Mason P. Community outcomes over time: a comparison across 2006, 2008 and 2011 GoWell community surveys. GoWell, Glasgow, 2013

Bond L, Kearns A, Tannahill C, Egan M, Mason P. Housing outcomes over time: a comparison across 2006, 2008 and 2011 GoWell community surveys. GoWell, Glasgow, 2013

Bond L, Kearns A, Tannahill C, Egan M, Mason P. Neighbourhood outcomes over time: a comparison across 2006, 2008 and 2011 GoWell community surveys. GoWell, Glasgow, 2013

Bond L, McKee MJ, Sautkina E, Kearns A, Tannahill C, Cox J. Residents’ perspectives on mixed tenure communities: a qualitative study of social renters and owner occupiers. GoWell, 2013

open access  

Egan M, Katikireddi SV, Kearns A, Tannahill C, Kalacs M, Bond L. Health effects of neighborhood demolition and housing improvement: a prospective controlled study of 2 natural experiments in urban renewal. American Journal of Public Health 2013;103:e47-53

open access  

Egan M, Tannahill C, Bond L, Kearns A, Mason P. A synthesis of GoWell research findings about the links between regeneration and health. GoWell, Glasgow, 2013

Egan M, Tannahill C, Bond L, Kearns A, Mason P. Health outcomes over time: a comparison across 2006, 2008 and 2011 GoWell community surveys. GoWell, Glasgow, 2013

Kearns A, McKee MJ, Sautkina E, Cox J, Bond L. How to mix? Spatial configurations, modes of production and resident perceptions of mixed tenure neighbourhoods. Cities 2013;35:397–408

Kearns A, McKee MJ, Sautkina E, Weeks G, Bond L. Mixed-tenure orthodoxy: practitioner reflections on policy effects. Cityscape 2013;15:43-68

open access  

Kearns A, Whitley E, Bond L, Egan M, Tannahill C. The psychosocial pathway to mental well-being at the local level: investigating the effects of perceived relative position in a deprived area context. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2013;67:87-94


McKee MJ, Bond L, Kearns A, Sautkina E, Weeks G. Policy-maker and practitioner perspectives on mixed tenure communities: a qualitative study. GoWell, Glasgow, 2013

open access  

Neary J, Egan M, Bond L, Keenan PJ, Lawson L. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t: negotiating the tricky context of anti-social behaviour and keeping safe in disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods. Journal of Youth Studies 2013;16:118-134

open access  


Bond L, Kearns A, Mason P, Tannahill C, Egan M, Whitley E. Exploring the relationships between housing, neighbourhoods and mental wellbeing for residents of deprived areas. BMC Public Health 2012;12:48

pubmed  open access  

Egan M, Bond L, Kearns A, Tannahill C. Is concern about young people's anti-social behaviour associated with poor health? Cross-sectional evidence from residents of deprived urban neighbourhoods. BMC Public Health 2012;12:217

pubmed  open access  

Egan M, Neary J, Keenan PJ, Bond L. Perceptions of antisocial behaviour and negative attitudes towards young people: focus group evidence from adult residents of disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods (Glasgow, UK). Journal of Youth Studies 2012;1:612-627

open access  

Kearns A, Whitley E, Bond L, Tannahill C. Residential psychosocial environment and mental wellbeing in deprived areas. International Journal of Housing Policy 2012;12:413-438

open access  

Kearns A, Whitley E, Mason P, Bond L. Living the high life: residential social and psychosocial outcomes for high-rise occupants in deprived context. Housing Studies 2012;27:97-126

Sautkina E, Bond L, Kearns A. Mixed evidence on the mixed tenure effects: findings from a systematic review of UK studies, 1995-2009. Housing Studies 2012;27:748-782

open access  


Bond L, Kearns A, Sautkina E. Mixed messages about mixed tenure: do reviews tell the real story?. Housing Studies 2011;26:69-94

open access  

Egan M, Neary J, GoWell Team. GoWell Briefing Paper 15: intolerance and adult perceptions of antisocial behaviour: focus group evidence from disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Glasgow. GoWell Briefing Paper 15, Glasgow, 2011


Mason P, Kearns A, Bond L. Neighbourhood walking and regeneration in deprived communities . Health & Place 2011;17:727-37


Neary J, Egan M, GoWell Team . GoWell Briefing Paper 16: young people's experience of intolerance, antisocial behaviour and keeping safe in disadvantaged areas of Glasgow. GoWell Briefing Paper 16, Glasgow, 2011

open access  


Egan M, Beck S, Bond L, Coyle J, Crawford F, Kearns A, Lawson L, Mason M, Tannahill C, Sautkina E, Thomson H, Walsh D, on behalf of the GoWell Team. Protocol for a mixed methods study investigating the impact of investment in housing, regeneration and neighbourhood renewal on the health and wellbeing of residents: the GoWell programme. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2010;10:41.

open access  

Egan M, GoWell Team. GoWell Briefing Paper 8: who says teenagers are a serious problem? GoWell's findings on householder perceptions of youth related problems in deprived areas of Glasgow. GoWell Briefing Paper 8, Glasgow, 2010

open access  

Tannahill C, Kearns A, Bond L. Strengthening mental health within communities. In: Goldie I, editor Public mental health today: a handbook. Brighton: Pavilion Publishing/Mental Health Foundation, 2010.


Kearns A, Tannahill C, Bond L. Regeneration and health: conceptualising the connections. Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal 2009;3:56-76.


Egan M, Tannahill C, Petticrew M, Thomas S. Psychosocial risk factors in home and community settings and their associations with population health and health inequalities: a systematic meta-review. BMC Public Health 2008;8:239

pubmed  open access  


Egan M, Tannahill C, Petticrew M. GoWell Working Paper 8: evidence of psychosocial risk factors in community settings: a scoping review of reviews. Glasgow, 2007

open access  


Egan M, Kearns A. GoWell Working Paper 2: selection, definition and description of study. Glasgow, 2006

open access  

Egan M, Kearns A. GoWell Working Paper 3: community survey- wave 1 questionnaire. Glasgow, 2006

open access  

Thomson H, Kearns A. GoWell Working Paper 6 : assessing neighbourhood environments. Glasgow, 2006

open access  

Project Staff

External Collaborators


  • Longitudinal Studies A type of study which involves studying a group of people at regular intervals over a long period of times
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