Background: Healthy communities can be supported through built environment interventions that redesign cities for improved health outcomes. Understanding the context of these interventions is critical for assessing how an intervention impacts population health; such context is often poorly documented. This study uses concept mapping to capture stakeholders’ perspectives on the factors that influence the success and failure of built environment interventions across cities.

Methods: The INTErventions, Research, and Action in Cities Team (INTERACT) research program undertook concept mapping exercises related to interventions in four Canadian cities: public bike share program (Vancouver); a cycling network (Victoria); a bus rapid transit program (Saskatoon); and interventions related to the Montreal Sustainability Plan (Montreal). Concept mapping synthesised stakeholder perceptions and Go zones were used to prioritise factors based on importance and feasibility. Resulting themes were integrated into implementation science frameworks.

Results: Across four cities, 95 stakeholders participated. An average of 38 factors were identified in each city, resulting in 5 emerging clusters in Victoria and Montreal and 6 clusters in Vancouver and Saskatoon. Clusters covered domains of economic and political context, intervention planning, equity considerations, user experience, and stakeholder engagement. Common across all cities was the importance of stakeholder engagement. Concerns for citizen safety were prominent in Victoria, Vancouver, and Saskatoon. Interventions in Saskatoon and Vancouver were related to programs, and reliability of service and ease of use emerged. Go zones highlighted 2–5 items in each city, which can inform priority actions.

Conclusion: Our study provides stakeholders’ collective thinking on the contextual factors that influence the success and failure of built environment interventions. Organising context within an implementation science framework can provide a common language to synthesise stakeholder perspectives across settings. Go zone items can inform city-specific priority actions to support a common vision around implementing built environment interventions in pursuit of designing equitable and healthy cities.




Firth CL, Poirier Stephens Z, Fuller D, Cantinotti M, Kestens Y, Winters M. Successes and failures of built environment interventions: using concept mapping to assess stakeholder perspectives in four Canadian cities. Social Science and Medicine, January 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113383