The Denver Study of the Built and Social Environment (DBASE) was created to better understand the health and well-being of residents across each of the neighborhoods in the city of Denver. The project was founded in 2017 by Dr. Jason Boardman at the University of Colorado in collaboration with neighborhood residents, organizations, and researchers across the city of Denver.

DBASE has three main components. First, it is a proposed research study to understand how neighborhood environments impact the health of residents. Second, it aims to develop new ways of understanding the importance of social interactions and norms within neighborhoods. Third, it will provide a new data resource for neighborhood residents, organizations, researchers, policy makers, and public health officials and will engage each of these groups in a new collaborative research project.

Research study

DBASE is currently supported by the University of Colorado’s Innovative Seed Grant Program. We are applying for funding through the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expand this project and public health resource by regularly collecting rich information about the social connections, social resources, and social risks associated with residence in each of the 78 neighborhoods in the city.

New ways of understanding neighborhoods

DBASE takes a deeper look into how and why neighborhoods matter in our daily lives. Working with community partners, DBASE will develop new ways to measure the importance of neighborhood perceptions and interactions. These new measures will go beyond simply understanding who lives in neighborhoods and what resources are available. The new measures will examine how these characteristics matter to residents. For example, existing data can tell us how many people smoke cigarettes in a given neighborhood. DBASE will examine how smoking cigarettes is perceived by one’s neighbors, and how these perceptions shape neighborhood norms. In another example, existing data can tell us whether environmental pollutants exist in a neighborhood. DBASE will develop measures for understanding how these environmental pollutants are perceived and collectively understood by neighborhood residents. The new measures developed by DBASE will complement data that is currently available and will contribute essential knowledge about the social meanings of neighborhoods.

Neighborhood data resource

DBASE will create a data “hub” where multiple sources of Denver data can be accessed and easily understood. Data sources include data collected from the DBASE studies, U.S. Census and American Community Survey Data, City of Denver Data, and health data from the 500 Cities Project. The DBASE team will work with its community partners to make sure the data are relevant, timely, and easy to use.

For more information about DBASE, please contact the research team at: