BROWNFIELDS TO HEALTHFIELDS
It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfield properties in the U.S. It doesn’t take much to identify these properties. Just look for the closest closed gas station, auto repair business, or salvage yard. These sites may have actual or perceived contamination due to past exposure to environmental toxins. The reason why these properties may end up vacant and abandoned can range from shifts in demographics to the (unfortunate) historical absence of local control over planning and zoning decisions.
Redevelopment of brownfield properties is complicated, yet over the years, many groups have made the effort to remediate and rebuild these sites after realizing the economic opportunities that exist in the redevelopment of contaminated land, which is more often than not located in inner-city neighborhoods that have experienced economic neglect. However, in recent years, initiatives have begun to redevelop these sites into spaces that not only promote economic growth but also promote community health.
In Minnesota, a Brownfield Health Indicator Tool was designed to bring together planners, public health professionals, and most importantly, the community members, to plan for brownfield redevelopment. Efforts like this aligned with the state's effort to revitalize Minneapolis' Mississippi central riverfront, home to historic milling and shipping industries, which led to the creation of Mill Ruins Park.
Here in Arizona, Dave Laney, Principal/Senior Project Manager with ATC Group Services and AALC member, is the founder of the Arizona Healthfields Initiative. This initiative is working with many partners to convert brownfields to healthfields throughout the state, with a special focus on bringing healthy food and healthcare to more Arizonans.
WORK IN PHOENIX GETS RECOGNIZED
A partnership between Quincea-Green on Purpose Alliance (QGPA), a dynamic combination of agriculture business focusing on the health and social issues of the local community associated with food, and the City of Phoenix, is one of the first projects to be included in the City's recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to do brownfields to healthfields work.
This project, situated along the Central Ave. corridor in South Phoenix, recognized the fact that that from the Hohokam to the early settlers of South Phoenix, this community was once an area of significant agriculture production. While the area is currently lacking in primary production and access to healthy food, that landscape is changing.
Just last week, QGPA and the City of Phoenix's initial efforts were recognized by Arizona Forward's 37th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards. The effort received a Vitalyst Health Foundation Award for Healthy Communities, which means the project is contributing to a healthier, more sustainable community. See last week's interview by the project's leaders on Arizona PBS.
OTHER BROWNFIELDS RESOURCES
Leading Change for Healthy Communities and Successful Land Reuse, US Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
The “how to” guide for all members of the development community to promote health as a part of redevelopment. The diverse community projects in this book represent some of the many examples of healthy redevelopment projects across the country.
How Does Your Garden Grow? Brownfields Redevelopment and Local Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency
A short introduction and steps to take for turning a brownfield property into a community garden.
An Indicator Framework to Measure Effects of Brownfields Redevelopment on Public Health,
Journal of Environmental Health, ATSDR
Informs readers of ATSDR’s activities and initiatives to better understand the relationship between exposure to hazardous substances in the environment and their impact on human health and how to protect public health.
Health Equity Guide, A Human Impact Partners Project
Local health departments are building power for health equity. After years of struggling to close health disparities, a new movement has taken root: local health departments are using a set of strategic practices to confront the power imbalances and forms of oppression at the root of health inequities, change the conversation about what creates health equity, develop leadership and support innovation, and build a movement for health equity.
Research KnowledgeBase, American Planning Association
APA's Research KnowledgeBase connects APA members to curated collections of topically related resources — including plans, regulations, model codes, guidelines, articles, reports, and multimedia files. Each collection provides commentary and thematic groupings of resource records with bibliographic information, short descriptions, and links to the resources themselves. Each resource collection also has its own search tool, allowing you to find records that meet certain collection-specific criteria.
2017 National Walking Summit
September 13-15, 2017
Improving Population Health: Now, Across People’s Lives, and Across Generations to Come
AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
The University of Texas at Austin
October 2-4, 2017
Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health
American Public Health Association
November 4–8, 2017
AARP's 5th Annual Livable Communities National Conference
Nov. 14-16, 2017
Call for Sessions Due by August 14
2017 National Walking Summit Preview
We’re gearing up for the 2017 National Walking Summit and excited by what’s developing. Get a sneak peak at some of the presenters and programs that will be available in St. Paul, September 2017.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM MST
The Promise and Challenges of Automated Technologies (AV Webinar Series Part I)
Industry-leading experts from Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, VTTI’s Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety, and Charles River Analytics will share the latest in connected and automated technologies, and describe the challenges and potential for improving pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility through these innovations. A facilitated discussion will follow.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
10:00-11:30 AM MST
Evidence for Action: Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Evidence for Action (E4A), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, funds research that expands the evidence base needed to build a Culture of Health. Our mission is to support rigorously designed quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research that yields convincing findings regarding the population health, well-being, and equity impacts of specific policies, programs and partnerships. We are especially interested in research examining the health impacts of programmatic or policy interventions that address factors outside the domain of health care services or public health practice.
More information: Available here