Neighborhood disorder takes two forms: physical disorder such as vandalism, disrepair, and filth; and social disorder such as crime, drug use, and public drinking. Disorder, and the fear and stress that often result, can lead to poor health outcomes in communities by creating chronic stress; which can impair immune functioning and increase the risk for chronic diseases.[i] Additionally, the cleanliness of public spaces can have a direct impact on health through increased exposure to communicable and infectious diseases.
The data used here, from the City’s 311 system, measure public reports of neighborhood physical disorder, including dumping, needles, and filth on the sidewalks. However, because the data is self-reported it is not a direct measure of environmental conditions. Issues may go unreported, and in other cases, a single issue may receive many reports by engaged citizens.
Between 2011 and 2015 the number of street and sidewalk cleaning requests channeled through the 311 system increased by 39% and 73%, in the CMTL area and city overall, respectively. During this period of time, the rate of street and sidewalk cleaning requests in the CMTL area was at least 2 times higher than the City overall. Due to the nature of the data, it is difficult to ascertain whether the increase in requests is due to a surge in sidewalk filth or increased use of the 311 system.
In 2015, hot spots of request activity were present along 6th St., around Minna St. between 9th and 7th, along Brady St. between Market and Otis, Golden Gate Ave. between Hyde and Leavenworth, and within the area bordered by Larkin, Golden Gate, O’Farrell, and Taylor.
Data was obtained from the City’s 311 system and is available on DataSF: https://data.sfgov.org/City-Infrastructure/Case-Data-from-San-Francisco-311-SF311-/vw6y-z8j6.
Resident population data was obtained from the 2010 Census.
The employee population was obtained from the California Economic Development Department.
* The service population = resident population + employee population/2
[i] Ross, C.E., and J. Mirowsky. 2001. Neighborhood Disadvantage, Disorder, and Health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Vol 42 (September): 258-276.