Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

I-Shian (Ivan) Suen


This dissertation examines the correlation between incivilities, indicators of urban blight, and single-family residential property values in the City of Richmond, Virginia. Through the utilization of a mixed methods research methodology, this dissertation assesses whether specific incivilities, structural characteristics of properties, or community demographics have an adverse influence on property values. Three separate methodologies were utilized in this research including a time series assessment, focus group and individual interviews, and a cross sectional design. The findings from the time series analysis indicate that property values increased every year over a five year period and that there were variances in property values throughout the City. The qualitative interviews suggested that the location of a property and features of the area heavily influence its value. Higher quality of life amenities tend to have a positive influence on property values and lower quality of life amenities tend to have a negative influence on property values. Incivilities, poverty, and crime were considered attributes of an area that adversely influence property values. The cross sectional analysis suggested that the socio-economics of the area tended to have a stronger correlation to property values than incivilities. Indicators of a high socio-economic status generally had a strong, positive correlation to property values and indicators of a low socio-economic status tended to have a strong, negative correlation to property values. Incivilities, in general, tended to have a moderately weak, negative correlation to property values. The research argues to not overlook but to assess multiple structural and neighborhood factors when examining community conditions. Such an assessment should be conducted at an intimate geographic level rather than a broad, city wide level. From an academic perspective this dissertation fills a hollowness in the empirical literature on the correlation of incivilities to property values. From a practical standpoint, the research provides a renewed lens in which to conceptualize and assess urban conditions and its impressions on communities. Together, this dissertation aids in assessing incivilities and other socio economic conditions to one of the most pervasive challenges facing municipalities in the 21st century - the economic stagnation and decline of residential property values.


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Date of Submission

May 2011