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.

Scotland's Housing And Regeneration Project (SHARP)

sharp logo


Completed Start date 2002 End date 2008


This collaborative project was funded by the Chief Scientist Office and Scotland's former housing agency, Communities Scotland, and involved a quasi-experimental investigation of the health effects of urban regeneration and new social housing.


A total of approximately 330 households were followed over two years in a longitudinal assessment of the health and related effects of major housing improvement across Scotland. A matched comparison group was also interviewed, and additional qualitative research has been carried out to explore the impact of the intervention in more depth. 


The study was carried out jointly with Professor Ade Kearns and the Department of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow. The study built on work previously conducted in a systematic review of housing improvement and health and the Renton Study.


A brief summary of the project's findings is available below. Full versions of the reports can be accessed by following the links.



  • Housing conditions improved significantly for those who were rehoused. In particular, dryness, building repair, heating, amenities and perceptions of space and safety improved.
  • Rehousing did not change the affordability of housing for tenants.
  • There was no marked change in physical health outcomes for people who were rehoused, nor was there any significant change in health behaviours.
  • People who were rehoused reported increases in ‘psychosocial’ benefits including feelings of status and identity.
  • Those who gained access to a garden for their own exclusive use were more likely to report increases in psychosocial benefits overall. However, mental health was not affected by rehousing. 
  • For those who were rehoused, there was an increased sense of community - sense of belonging and community cohesion improved. Feelings of safety, and of ability to intervene if others were engaging in anti-social behaviour, also increased. 
  • Moving from a flat to a house led to increased feelings of community cohesion, and acquiring a private garden was linked with better social functioning.



Gibson M, Thomson H, Kearns A, Petticrew M. Understanding the psychosocial impacts of housing type: qualitative evidence from a housing and regeneration intervention. Housing Studies 2011;26:555-73

open access  


Petticrew M, Kearns A, Mason P, Hoy C. The SHARP study: a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the short-term outcomes of housing and neighbourhood renewal. BMC Public Health 2009;9:415

pubmed  open access  


Gibson M, Thomson H, Petticrew M, Kearns A. Health and housing in the SHARP study: qualitative research findings. Edinburgh, 2008

open access  

Kearns A, Mason P, Petticrew M. SHARP survey findings: changes in residential circumstances. Scottish Government Social Research, Edinburgh, 2008

open access  

Kearns A, Petticrew M, Mason P, Whitley E. SHARP survey findings: mental health and wellbeing outcomes. Scottish Government Social Research, Edinburgh, 2008

open access  

Kearns A, Petticrew M, Mason P, Whitley E. SHARP survey findings: physical health and health behaviour outcomes. Scottish Government Social Research, Edinburgh, 2008

open access  

Kearns A, Petticrew M, Mason P, Whitley E. SHARP survey findings: social and community outcomes. Edinburgh, 2008

open access  

Petticrew M, Kearns A, Hoy C, Gibson M, Mason P. The SHARP study: objectives, design and methodology. Edinburgh, 2008

open access  


Kearns A, Petticrew M, Hoy C, Mason P, Ferrell C. The effects of social housing on health and wellbeing: initial findings from the SHARP study - research from Communities Scotland. Report No 75. Edinburgh, 2006

open access  

External Collaborators


  • Longitudinal Studies A type of study which involves studying a group of people at regular intervals over a long period of times
  • Psychosocial Term used to describe the relationship between the personal, internal environment, and the wider social world. (E.g., from the Oxford English Dictionary: 'the influence of social factors on an individual's mind or behaviour, and to the interrelation of behavioural and social factors').
View all glossary entries