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.

The Health Impacts of Urban Regeneration Investment

Completed      Start date  2002      End date  2004


Large-scale investment in national programmes of urban regeneration aims to improve levels of socio-economic deprivation and may lead to positive health impacts. Indeed, investment in neighbourhood regeneration is a component of the current national strategy to tackle health inequalities.


The recent 'Wanless Report' recommended that "every opportunity to generate evidence from current policy and practice needs to be realised" and, in response to this, we have systematically reviewed evaluations of UK government-funded national programmes of urban regeneration over the past 24 years,  from 1980 to 2004. Data on health impacts reported in the evaluations were extracted and summarised. In addition, we reviewed any socio-economic impacts reported, as this has been recommended as an alternative proxy measure of health impact.


Many evaluations of national regeneration programmes have been carried out but there are very few reports of the actual impacts of urban regeneration programmes, either health or socio-economic impacts. Where impacts have been assessed, there are some small positive impacts across a range of key socio-economic determinants of health. Small positive health impacts are also reported, although adverse health impacts remain a real possibility.


More information about our programme of systematic reviews can be found here.



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  


Thomson H. A dose of realism for healthy urban policy: lessons from area based initiatives in the UK. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2008;62:932-36

pubmed  open access  


Atkinson R, Thomson H, Kearns A, Petticrew M. Giving urban policy its 'medical': assessing the place of health in area-based regeneration. Policy & Politics 2006;34:5-26

Thomson H, Atkinson R, Petticrew M, Kearns A. Do urban regeneration programmes improve public health and reduce health inequalities? A synthesis of the evidence from UK policy and practice (1980-2004). Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2006;60:108-115

pubmed  open access  

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