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Windshield Survey Guidelines
Conduct this survey as part of your community assessment.
- Boundaries: To what extent can you identify the boundaries of the neighborhood: natural boundaries, such as a river or different terrain; man-made, such as a highway or railroad; or economic, like the difference in real estate or the presence of industrial or commercial units, along with residential ones. Does the neighborhood have an identity or a name? Is it displayed? Are there unofficial names? Are there sub-communities near the area?
- Housing and zoning: 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?
- Signs of decay: 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?
- Parks and recreational areas: Are there parks and recreational areas in the neighborhood? Is the open space public or private? Who uses it?
- Commons: What are the neighborhood hangouts, such as schoolyards, bars, restaurants, or parks? What groups go there and at what time? Do common areas have a sense of territoriality or are they open to strangers?
- Stores: What supermarkets or neighborhood stores are nearby? How do residents travel to the store? Are there drug stores, laundrymats, and dry cleaners?
- Transportation: 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?
- Service centers: Are there nearby 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?
- Street people: 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?
- Protective services: Is there evidence of police and fire protection in the area? Where are they in relationship to the family’s residence?
- Race: What is the ethnicity of the residents? Are the residents African American, Caucasian Americans, Asian Americans, and so forth? How are the different racial groups residentially located?
- Ethnicity: Are there indications of ethnic variances, such as food stores, churches, private schools, or other information in another language?
- Religion: What churches and church-operated schools are in the neighborhood? How many are there?
- Class: What is the social status of the residents? Are they upper, upper-middle, middle, working, or a lower socioeconomic class? On what information do you base your judgment?
- Health status: Is there evidence of acute or chronic health conditions in the neighborhood, such as automobile accidents, alcoholism, drug addiction, teenage smoking, pregnant teenagers, or inappropriately dressed or unclean children?
- Comparison: How does this neighborhood compare to the neighborhood in the immediate vicinity? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this neighborhood and community?
- Compilethe data from your community and family assessments.
- Use Windshield Survey Guidelines for community assessment
- Ensureyou have included an explanation of the LHI(s) that apply to your family’s community