Thandi Nyambose

MIT Department: Urban Studies & Planning

Undergraduate Institution: Barnard College

Faculty Mentor: Mariana Arcaya

Research Supervisor: Leigh Carroll

Website: LinkedIn



I am an undergraduate student from the Boston area, majoring in urban studies at Barnard College. My research interests lie in urban public health- in particular, the creation and accessibility of food systems in cities. I hope to pursue a career that aids in the creation of just, livable, and sustainable communities. In my free time, I enjoy living in and exploring the complexities of Manhattan, as well as yoga and eating.

2017 Poster Presentation

2017 Research Abstract

Displacement as a threat to good health: How self-reported experiences of built, social, natural, and economic environments relate to wellbeing

Thandi Nyambose, Urban Studies Program, Barnard College

Leigh Carroll, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mariana Arcaya, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In epidemiology, there is a belief that one’s ZIP code may be may be a better predictor of

health than one’s genetic code. The Healthy Neighborhoods Study, which began in 2015, aims to prove just that. The study will track changes in four key domains – resident experiences, neighborhood conditions, development, and health – across a cohort of nine Massachusetts neighborhoods that are likely to receive Transit Oriented Development (TOD) investments. Data is collected in each neighborhood through Participatory Action Research. Any data that links residents’ self-reported wellbeing with their interactions with the built, social, natural, and economic environments would support the hypothesis. So far, resident researchers have collected nearly 400 responses during the baseline data, which shows strong predictive relationships between wellbeing and neighborhood conditions. Specifically, constructs around self-determination (defined as people’s ability to meet personal priorities in the place where they live), social support (defined as relationships with other people in in their communities that are supportive, affirming, inclusive, provide care and create leverage), and housing stability (defined as the belief that they will not have to relocate in the next five years), have emerged as predictors of respondents reporting good health. These results build community capacity to create neighborhood conditions that foster wellbeing, and inform future plans for inclusive urban development.