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Changing PlacesThe Science and Art of New Urban Planning$
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John MacDonald, Charles Branas, and Robert Stokes

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195216

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195216.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Establishing Evidence

Establishing Evidence

(p.28) 3 Establishing Evidence
Changing Places

John Macdonald

Charles Branas

Robert Stokes

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides a guide to scientific evidence and explores how field experiments can be used as a scientific standard for determining what place-based policies to adopt, refine, or abandon. It also discusses what types of evidence to rely on when experiments are not possible for various ethical or pragmatic reasons. Experimentation is at the very heart of science, and relying on a scientific model for deciding how, and in what forms, the built environment should be modified is a dynamic process that can ultimately inform the efficient and effective expenditures of limited resources by policy makers. Rather than provide a treatise on the scientific method and the value of experiments, the chapter provides a short discussion of the benefits of different methods of evaluation and focuses more attention on the utility of a science-based policy agenda for changing places. The scientific model allows people to evaluate the influence that environments may have on health and safety while also encouraging them to pursue discoveries of innovative new place-based strategies that can achieve the greatest health and safety benefits at relatively low costs.

Keywords:   scientific evidence, field experiments, place-based policies, built environment, evaluation, science-based policy, place-based strategies, scientific model, health benefits, safety benefits

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