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Neighbourhood Study Toolkit

 Neighbourhood  Study Toolkit

(Windshield Survey adapted for University of Chester Undergraduate Nursing  Programme)

Nurses must be able to knowledgeably plan services for individuals, families and the community.  In order to effectively plan, it is essential that you are aware of the resources specific to the community a client resides in to allow for identification of health-related resources and to understand gaps in services. A windshield survey is usually conducted from a car and provides a visual overview of a community however, because of the restrictions in place due to the Corona Virus Pandemic this exercise will be a “Virtual Survey” carried out using online resources.   

This data provides background and context for working with individuals and families in their community. This exercise will provide you with health skills and knowledge to integrate public health theory into practice and will further empower and enable you to deliver appropriate preventative and population health interventions to your clients ensuring that every contact counts. (Making Every Contact Count [MECC] 2016)  

Information gathered from this survey should be added to this template.  Please complete and submit via Turnitin on the Practice Learning tab on the Department - Nursing page, on Moodle; https://moodle.chester.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=12299&section=7. This should be submitted by 7th June 2021. If data is collected (statistical, informational, geographic), then a reference page using the current APA format is expected. 


What is your geographical area of study What are the boundaries geographical  political, or economic?

  • Do neighbourhoods have names
  • Are there sub-communities?
  • How are these identified? (post-codes, super output area ?


Responses to the questions on the left                

Housing and Zoning

  • What is the age of the buildings?
  • Private /Social Housing
  • Are the residences single family or multifamily dwellings?


Signs of Decay

  • Is the area well maintained or is it in neglect?
  • Is there garbage strewn?
  • Are there trashed/abandoned cars?
  • Places for rodents or other wildlife to hide, vacant lots?



Parks and Recreational Areas (Green Spaces)

  • Are there designated play areas for children and young people
    • Playing fields
    • Cycle paths
    • Other activities e.g. skate park etc.
    • Playground equipment
  • Are there recreational areas for adults?
    • Designated dog walking areas
    • Outdoor gyms etc.
    • Cycle paths
  • Are they safe and maintained?
  • Is there a Community Center?
  • Who uses them?


Common Areas

  • Where do people collect for social gatherings;
  • Are they for particular groups or are they open to all?
  • Are they well sign posted?
  • Where do young people  “hang out”?



  • What shops (grocery, retail, pharmacy, dry cleaning, betting etc.) are in the area?
  • How do residents travel to them?




  • How do most people get around the area?
  • Is there public transportation? If so what kind and does it appear to be used?
  • Who uses it?
  • What is the condition of the streets, roads, motorways?




  • Is there evidence of local and national newspapers to other media?
  • Are there informational posters on streets, buses, billboards, etc.?



Service Centers

  • What services are available in the community?
    • health care,
    • social services,
    • schools,
    • Library
    • Sports and Leisure Centre
    • Voluntary/Charity organisations
    • Sports /Youth Clubs
    • Employment offices etc.?



People in the Community

  • Who is in the area during the day?
  • What evidence is thereof particular “classes” of people – upper, middle, working, lower?



  • What are the major industries located in the area?
  • What types of occupations are evident?


Protective Services

  • Where are fire and police stations located?
  •  Is there evidence of police and fire protection in the area?



  • What is the predominant ethnic group?
  • Are there residents from a variety of ethnic backgrounds or is the community mostly one group?
    • Which one(s)?
  • Are there shops, restaurants, churches, schools, or languages that indicate a particular ethnic group(s)?




  • What churches and church-run schools are in the area (denomination)?
  • How many are there of each denomination?


Health and Morbity

  • Is there evidence of any health problems such as:
    • drug/alcohol abuse,
    • communicable or chronic diseases,
    • mental illness (etc)?
    • Obesity
    • Disability



Is there evidence of political activity? 

  • Are there any signs that indicate a predominant political party (parties)or concern(s)?



The attached document provides sources of data; you may access these sources and/or other sources that are relevant to your study.


What you need to do is work through the questions in the template by searching the internet for answers. There  are some links to web sites which will help you at the end of the study. 

You should start by:-

  1. Choosing the geographical are you are going to investigate (most people are choosing their home town).
  2. Work systematically through the questions, answering as much as you can. 

Some general questions you might want to consider:

  • What are the community’s outstanding assets? (a community asset is anything can be used to improve the quality of community life eg a person, structure, service, business or greenspaces)
  • What seem to be the community’s biggest challenges?
  • What is the most striking thing about the community?
  • What is the most unexpected?
  • Are you struck by the aesthetic quality of the community, either positively or negatively – i.e., is it particularly beautiful or particularly ugly? 

This piece of work is designed to make you more aware of the broader impacts on health, not just the absence of disease. It will give you a feel for the community and should be utilised to increase your knowledge about what is available in your area of study. It can also help you to identify what community assets are/are not available within your area of study to support the health and wellbeing of the population.

This is a virtual practice placement and is the equivalent of one weeks practice hours and time has been allocated within your timetable to complete it. I hope your find this information useful, if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to come back to us.


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