Livable City Year

Health Assessment of a Neighborhood Enhancement Project in Eastgate, Bellevue, Washington, 2019

2018-2019 Livable City Year – Bellevue

City Project Leads:  Kat Phillips, Parks and Community Services; Theresa Cuthill, Community Development
UW Instructor: Andrew L. Dannenberg, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Course: SEFS 700, Master’s Thesis

Project description:

This Livable City Year (LCY) project assessed the community and individual- level health benefits that arose from a recent streetscape installation in Bellevue’s Eastgate neighborhood. The streetscape installation at SE 38th Street was funded by the City’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program and was voted in by residents in 2016. Over the past several years, the Community Development Department has worked alongside Parks & Community Services to revitalize a one-block stretch along SE 38th Street by removing invasive weeds and replacing them with enhanced landscaping, cleaning up trash, and extending the sidewalk. We engaged neighborhood residents and consulted the scientific literature to design a survey that would assess the health impacts of the streetscape enhancement. We investigated the work’s impact on walkability, safety, happiness, sense of community, and trust for nearby residents. Surveys were distributed by mail and on-line to 262 Eastgate residents in May 2019.

We found that a majority of respondents felt the streetscape enhancement improved the walkability and safety of the neighborhood, making the project site more pleasant to pass by. Additionally, we explored whether the perceived benefits of the project were distributed equally among residents by testing for differences in responses based on proximity to the streetscape enhancement, gender, age, whether someone walks by the project site or not, and how long someone has lived in the community. We found that women reported feeling safer and that younger residents experienced greater improvements in their sense of community as a direct result of the streetscape enhancement.

This project fills a much-needed knowledge gap for the City in that it provides the first-ever assessment of a Neighborhood Enhancement Program project. It is also the most comprehensive assessment of resident response to an enhanced right of way planting for the City. We hope this work will enable Bellevue to strengthen both the Neighborhood Enhancement Program and the Street Tree and Arterial Landscape Program by demonstrating the benefits that can arise from their work. Moving forward, this LCY project is meant to serve as an assessment template for future enhancement projects in Bellevue.

Part of the 2018-2019 Livable City Year partnership between the University of Washington and the City of Bellevue.

See all Livable City Year projects in Bellevue that UW students and faculty worked on during the year-long partnership.

Livable City Year logo