Our Neighbourhood Observational Tool for auditing urban community environments, called CyNOTes, depicts unequal profiles of the neighbourhood micro-scale environment, highlighting the environmental inequity in residents’ experience and quality of life.

For the attention of: Epidemiology and Public Health Associations, Neighbourhood and Health interests

The problem: Various methods are used to profile communities, all with advantages and shortcomings. Neighbourhood audits can provide valuable information about actual contextual features of the micro-scale environment of neighbourhoods relevant to residents’ health, not captured by other methods. Given the cultural-specificity of audit tools, there is need to develop or adapt audit tools to different urban settings

What we did and why: We assessed the feasibility of neighbourhood audits in the city of Limassol, by developing and piloting testing CyNOTes, a 126-item audit tool tapping on microscale features of the physical, built and social environment. The prevalence, variability and differences of audited features were assessed by two independent raters in repeat audits across thirty street blocks in three distinct groups of neighbourhoods, stratified by educational attainment of residents.

What our study adds:

  • With good inter- and intra-rater agreement, criterion and predictive validity, CyNOTes is the first audit tool in the community assessment toolbox culturally adapted to the specifics of the Cypriot city.

  • CyNOTes captured the variability in the neighbourhood environment, providing evidence of social inequity with more adverse neighbourhood conditions along the socioecomomic disadvantage continuum and quantifiable evidence of the unequal experience of citizens.

Implications for city policy and practice:

  • Depicting environmental inequity can trigger and widen the conversation among the local research community and policy-makers with regards to the wider social determinants of health and the role of the neighborhood environment in promoting health and health-related behaviours.

  • Further development will allow scaling-up the use of CyNOTes in the context of community assessment and citizens’ advocacy, allowing planning and implementation of relevant neighbourhood regeneration programmes based on actual observable needs of the community

Full research article: Developing and field testing the Neighbourhood Observational Tool for auditing urban community environments (CyNOTes) in the city of Limassol, Cyprus by  Daphne Kleopa, Andrie Panayiotou, Christiana Kouta & Nicos Middleton.