Uncovering How Urban Regeneration Programs May Stimulate Leisure-time Walking Among Adults in Deprived Areas: A Realist Review: A Realist Review

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Evidence suggests that urban regeneration programs can stimulate leisure-time walking (LTW) in deprived areas. However, underlying pathways remain unclear. This study explored how urban regeneration might stimulate LTW among adults in deprived areas. We conducted a realist review, a theory-driven approach to evidence synthesis that focuses on mechanisms. We searched three electronic databases for peer-reviewed literature that describes how the neighborhood environment or urban regeneration influences LTW among adults in deprived areas. Evidence from 13 qualitative studies was synthesized. All studies indicated that safety problems and poor physical neighborhood design make adults fearful of walking. Seven studies indicated that poor aesthetics makes walking less relaxing and stress releasing. Seven studies indicated that poor infrastructure makes it inconvenient for adults to walk. A limited number of studies indicated that a lack of LTW facilities creates a shortage of settings for walking and that low levels of social capital constrain social support for walking and social interaction while walking. Evidence from this study suggests that urban regeneration might stimulate LTW among adults in deprived areas by creating a neighborhood that is less frightening, more relaxing, and more convenient to walk in
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-724
Number of pages22
JournalInternational journal of health services
Issue number4
Early online date2 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • area deprivation
  • neighborhood
  • realist review
  • urban regeneration
  • walking

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