Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

Resident participation in neighbourhood audit tools

a scoping review


Background: Healthy urban environments require careful planning and a testing of environmental quality that goes beyond statutory requirements. Moreover, it requires the inclusion of resident views, perceptions and experiences that help deepen the understanding of local (public health) problems. To facilitate this, neighbourhoods should be mapped in a way that is relevant to them. One way to do this is participative neighbourhood auditing. This paper provides an insight into availability and characteristics of participatory neighbourhood audit instruments. Methods: A scoping review in scientific and grey literature, consisting of the following steps: literature search, identification and selection of relevant audit instruments, data extraction and data charting (including a work meeting to discuss outputs), reporting. Results: In total, 13 participatory instruments were identified. The role of residents in most instruments was as ‘data collectors’; only few instruments included residents in other audit activities like problem definition or analysis of data. The instruments identified focus mainly on physical, not social, neighbourhood characteristics. Paper forms containing closed-ended questions or scales were the most often applied registration method. Conclusions: The results show that neighbourhood auditing could be improved by including social aspects in the audit tools. They also show that the role of residents in neighbourhood auditing is limited; however, little is known about how their engagement takes place in practice. Developers of new instruments need to balance not only social and physical aspects, but also resident engagement and scientific robustness. Technologies like mobile applications pose new opportunities for participative approaches in neighbourhood auditing.

Reference Hofland, A. C. L., Devilee, J., van Kempen, E., & den Broeder, L. (2017). Resident participation in neighbourhood audit tools: a scoping review. European Journal of Public Health. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckx075
Published by  Faculty Sports and Nutrition 3 June 2017

Publication date

Jun 2017


Aafke C.L. Hofland
Jeroen Devilee
Elise van Kempen