“Areas get certain reputations, don’t they?”

Area reputation or neighbourhood stigma refers to the ways that particular areas – whether housing estates, neighbourhoods or towns, are subjective to derisive and negative portrayals.  This page hosts information and links to resources about how this affects health and wellbeing of residents living in areas that are stigmatised.  It includes examples of the ways in which groups of residents are taking action as part of place based programmes to promote more positive and accurate portrayals of where they live.

How residents react and respond to stigma

review of 38 international studies reporting residents’ perspectives of living in stigmatised localities found residents internalised stigma but also challenged stigma in a range of ways. Although relatively few studies investigated health, living somewhere stigmatised affected wellbeing and impacted opportunities such as job seeking or meeting new people.


Area reputation and health

This perspectives piece in the Journal of Public Health makes the case for area reputation to be given greater visibility as a public health concern among researchers, policy makers, and practitioners.

It also argues that public health organisations risk  contributing to stigma and stereotyping of areas and highlights how lessons can be learnt from place based programmes in the UK.


Giving a place a bad reputation can harm its residents' health – unless they're empowered to change it

In this 2019 Conversation article, we explore how residents are taking action to resist a poor area reputation.

Media coverage and Big Local

A review of newspaper coverage in two areas investigated the extent that negative coverage contributed to poor area reputation. It provides evidence of how residents were able to have a voice in shaping more positive local news coverage though their involvement in the Big Local.


Economic and Social Research Council workshop

In 2017, an ESRC workshop on the issue of neighbourhood stigma  was attended by representatives from local authorities, the public and place based funders. Experiences were shared from across the country about how stigma can be addressed as well as the challenges


This video explores how one community is attempting to change external perceptions of their hometown. Reproduced courtesy of Local Trust and West End Million, Morecambe.