Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Disease and "Broken Windows"

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Disease and "Broken Windows"

Article excerpt

Frumkin's editorial in the May 2005 issue of EHP (Frumkin 2005) was very interesting and enlightening. On page A291, Frumkin cited several studies that endorse the "broken windows theory," noting that

   Part of this effect may well be due to the disorder
   and squalor of the environment. Poor people and
   people of color are disproportionately exposed to
   "broken windows."

It is interesting that the "broken windows" are considered to cause disease and health inequity. What happened first: the "broken windows," or the lack of social skills and the abandonment of the population who live in such places? As a scientist, I find it very difficult to accept that "broken windows" are associated with the number of cases of gonorrhea and are associated with causality. The cases of venereal diseases (VD) are more related to the social skills and social behaviors of the people living in the community. They also have a lack of respect for property, and destruction of property often occurs.

If we say the reverse is plausible, what would happen if we got a grant and fixed all of the "broken windows" in a particular community, with no other intervention, and observed the trend of VD? …

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