Windshield Survey Aid
Use these questions to guide your community assessment.
To what extent can you identify the boundaries of the neighborhood: natural boundaries such as a river or different terrain; man-made, such as highway or railroad; or economic, such as difference in real estate, presence of industrial or commercial units along with residential?
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Does the neighborhood have an identity or a name? Is it displayed? Are there unofficial names? Are there sub communities near the area? Windshield Survey Aid
How old are the houses? Of what style and materials are they constructed? Are all the neighborhood houses similar? If not, how would you characterize the differences?
Are there signs of disrepair, such as broken windows, steps, doors? Are any of the houses vacant?
Is the neighborhood improving or declining? Is it vibrant and full of life? How would you decide?
Is there trash, rubble, poor drainage, or disease vector harborage? Are there dilapidated sheds, rubble-filled vacant lots, abandoned cars, or boarded-up buildings? Windshield Survey Aid
Are there parks and recreational areas in the neighborhood? Is the open space public or private? Who uses it?
What are the neighborhood hangouts, such as schoolyards, bars, restaurants, parks? What groups go there? At what time?
Do common areas have a sense of territoriality, or are they open to strangers?
What supermarkets or neighborhood stores are available? How do residents travel to the store? Are there drug stores, laundry mats, and dry cleaners?
How do people get in and out of the neighborhood? What is the condition of the streets? Is there a major highway near the neighborhood? Who does it serve? Is public transportation available and how accessible is it to your family?
Are there social agencies, clinics, recreation centers, and schools? Are doctors, dentists, or other health care providers accessible? Is there a hospital in the area? How accessible are these service centers to your family?
If you are walking during the day, who is on the streets; for example, are there women, children, teenagers, community health nurses, collection agents, salespeople? How are they dressed?
What animals do you see; for example, do you see stray animals, pets, watchdogs, or livestock?
Is there evidence of police and fire protection in the area? Where are they in relationship to the family’s residence?
What is the ethnicity of residents? Are the residents African American, Caucasian Americans, Asian Americans, and so forth? How are the different racial groups residentially located?
Are there indications of ethnic variances, such as food stores, churches, private schools, information in another language?
What churches and church-operated schools are in the neighborhood? How many are there?
What is the social status of the residents? Are they upper, upper-middle, middle, working, or lower socioeconomic class? On what information do you base your judgment?
Is there evidence of acute or chronic health conditions in the neighborhood, such as automobile accidents, alcoholism, drug addition, teenage smoking, pregnant teenagers, inappropriately dressed or unclean children?
How does this neighborhood compare to the neighborhood in the immediate vicinity?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of this neighborhood and community?
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