Julie Vallée, CNRS, UMR Géographie-Cités, gave a talk on the ‘constant size neighbourhood trap’ in accessibility and health studies. This methodology piece looks at how to measure and not measure resource accessibility, specifically using medical access in the greater Paris area. The abstract is below and her published article can be read online here.
In literature on neighbourhood effects and resources accessibility, the number of neighbourhood resources to which residents may have access are often estimated from spatial units whose constant size fails to account for unique ways residents experience their neighbourhoods. To investigate this ‘constant size neighbourhood trap’, we compared numbers of healthcare resources included in Constant Size Buffers (CSBs) and in Perceived Neighbourhood Polygons (PNPs) from cognitive neighbourhood data collected among 653 residents of the Paris metropolitan area. We observed that residents of deprived and peripheral areas had smaller PNPs than their counterparts. Studying residents assessments of the quantity of neighbourhood practitioners, we then assessed the validity of using PNPs rather than CSBs to estimate number of neighbourhood resources. Lastly, resource inequalities across the Paris metropolitan area were found to be far wider when considering PNPs rather than CSBs.
Using constant neighbourhood delineation can lead to inaccurately measured individual accessibility to neighbourhood resources and to downplay the extent of inequalities in urban resources.