Read below for news of interest, as well as information on recent publications.
Sustainable Communities Strategies: A Tool for Equitable Regional Planning
The second CORE Framing Paper is now available. Written by Paul Ainger and Jon Ellison for CORE, the paper focuses on the need for regional coordination of land use and transportation planning in order to achieve an equitable and sustainable region. To learn more, read an excerpt from the introduction below. The full paper is available to download here.
Since the early twentieth century, land use decisions and transportation investment patterns in the Sacramento region have often been made by a combination of people and institutions with vested interests, including real estate developers, banks and other lenders, auto manufacturers, oil companies and professional planners. Their efforts were supported by federal, state and local governments who developed policies and programs that helped create a built environment featuring large, highly-segregated, sprawling low-density subdivisions at the expense of the older inner-city neighborhoods. These policies and programs included substantial funding for the interstate highway system, federal housing guarantees that discriminated against low income people and people of color, and zoning laws that encouraged single family subdivision development.
These efforts produced unequal results, with low income communities receiving a marginal share of investment and attention. Over time, the built environment clearly advantaged wealthy interests who lived in low cost single family homes, attended the best schools, and had access to cars and jobs. On the other side, low income families and people of color lived in segregated, neglected, mostly inner-city and older neighborhoods with limited access to transportation and jobs. Further, these investments were decided without thoughtful evaluation of the potential impact on open space, air quality and natural resources.
21st Century Governance: Regions, Regional Equity and Opportunity in Sacramento
The first CORE Framing Paper is now available. Written by Bill Kennedy and Chris Benner for CORE, the paper focuses on regional governance, development, and equity for Sacramento. To learn more, read an excerpt from the introduction below. The full paper is available to download here.
In the midst of the worst economic recession in four generations, many people in our country have lost faith in the ability of government to help solve their problems. In the Sacramento area, many families feel the dissonance between their hopes and dreams for the future, and the policies adopted by their elected leaders. The Sacramento area continues to suffer from high foreclosure rates, widespread unemployment, and increasing homelessness—just the most obvious indicators of the broader struggles poor and working families in the region continue to face—yet our local and state governments seem powerless to turn the tide of economic hardship while also slashing funding for education and needed social programs. This separation fosters widespread discontent in government, at all levels, and threatens our democratic institutions.
But perhaps the problem is not government itself, but rather the outdated structures of our public institutions. Perhaps we are trying to govern in the 21st century using 20th century government structures. Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously said shortly after the November 2008 elections, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. The continued economic crisis provides us an opportunity to rethink how we can grow in the 21st century and what role public institutions can play in shaping that growth. Regionalism may be the answer.
Creating Healthy Regional Transportation Plans
TransForm has released a report with the California Department of Public Health detailing the connections between transportation, health and sustainability, and how Regional Transportation Plans can be used as a tool to promote health. To learn more, read the report here.
Food Desert Locator
The USDA has released an online food desert locator. Several census tracts in Sacramento appear on the map. To view the map, visit this website.
Walkable Neighborhoods Can Save Millions of Dollars
TransForm has released Windfall For All: How Connected, Convenient Neighborhoods Can Protect Our Climate and Safeguard California’s Economy, a study detailing how creating more walkable neighborhoods can not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but can save the average California household $5,200 per year. To read the report and learn more about TransForm, visit TransForm.
Healthy City: An Information + Action Resource
Healthy City is an information + action resource that unites community voices, rigorous research and innovative technologies to solve the root causes of social inequity. It provides actionable information such as data, maps, and service referrals through our easy-to-use online platform. HealthyCity.org allows users to search for local services, conduct research and connect with their communities. Beyond providing free access to the largest database of community services and localized data variables, HealthyCity.org offers the ability for users to “tell their own story” by uploading their own data or multimedia to the system.
The Healthy City Sacramento Region Partnership is comprised of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, The Community Services Planning Council and the Center for Regional Change at the University of California, Davis. The Partnership is focused on improving the ability of communities and organizations in the Sacramento region use data and mapping tools in planning and advocacy efforts. The Partnership will conduct outreach and training around the Healthy City Sacramento Region website to raise awareness about community conditions and policy and planning efforts for other community groups.
To learn more and begin to use this exciting resource, visit Healthy City.
Policy Link Report on Transportation and Equity
Policy Link has released a report titled All Aboard! Making Equity and Inclusion Central to Federal Transportation Policy. To read the report, click here.
Cultivating Health Equity: a Policy Recommendations Report
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network has released The Landscape of Opportunity: Cultivating Health Equity in California, which connects social and environmental inequities to the health disparities experienced by California’s communities of color. The report is available here. An interactive tool that allows you to map the landscape of opportunity across California is available here.
Toolkit for Building Healthy Communities
Leadership for Healthy Communities has released the Action Strategies Toolkit, which provides targeted strategies, stakeholders, policy and program options, directions on how to start programs, resources that can help inform the process, and examples of how other states and localities have achieved progress toward building healthy communities. To download the Toolkit, visit this website.
Intersection Between Transportation, Health, and Equity
Policy Link and the Prevention Institute released a report titled The Intersection of Transportation, Health, and Equity: How bold transportation policies can make all communities healthier and stronger. To view the report, visit the Convergence Partnership.
Evaluating Smart Growth
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy released a policy report titled Evaluating Smart Growth: State and Local Policy Outcomes. The report evaluates the effectiveness of smart growth policies in four states, and discusses implications for future local and state land use planning. To download the report, visit the Lincoln Insitute.
Community Design and Physical Activity in Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics just released an article on The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children. The article discusses how the built environment influences children’s physical activity, and what communities can do to increase physical activity and health in the lives of children. The article can be viewed by visiting this website.
PolicyLink Regional Equity Framing Paper
“Regional equity is part of a broad and hopeful vision for full inclusion and sustainability and the focus of the recent PolicyLink summit in New Orleans in early March. Distributed first to summit participants, Regional Equity and the Quest for Full Inclusion is the document that sets the scene for change. It examines the history of equity in America and how national and global forces are creating unique challenges and opportunities. It concludes with a vision of the future characterized by shared economic prosperity and true participatory democracy, one where everyone–including people of color and residents of low-income communities–can contribute and benefit.”
Report on Location, Access to Food Options, and Health
Designed for Disease: The Link Between Local Food Environments and Obesity and Diabetes was released by California Center for Public Health Advocacy, UCLA Center for Public Health Policy Research, and PolicyLink. The report demonstrates that people who live near an abundance of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores compared to grocery stores and produce vendors, have a significantly higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes regardless of individual or community income. To read the report, visit this website.
Unnatural Causes…is inequality making us sick?
Check out this great documentary series on causes leading to health inequalities across the nation and the world.