On Friday, CPEHN and 17 diverse public health, environmental, and climate change related organizations signed onto a joint letter to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research commending the recently revised 2015 General Plan Guidelines, which includes new chapters on Healthy Communities and Social Equity, Environmental Justice, and Community Resiliency as well as an updated Public Engagement and Outreach chapter. The revised Guidelines show promise in directing cities and counties to consider health and social equity in future development.
In addition to the strong support for these chapters, the joint letter outlined several recommendations for strengthening them. For example, we call upon OPR to more prominently acknowledge the changing racial, ethnic, economic, and aging demographics of California. By understanding these demographic shifts, our cities and counties can better consider existing and future needs, especially in historically under-resourced communities. We also recommend the document define key terms, such as health and equity, to build awareness and understanding at the outset of the planning process and to utilize visual representations of key concepts or frameworks within the Guidelines.
The specific chapters on which our groups focused our analysis included Public Engagement and Outreach (Chapter 3), Healthy Communities (Chapter 5), and Social Equity, Environmental Justice, & Community Resilience (Chapter 6). The comment letter also reflected feedback from community workshops hosted by CPEHN in partnership with OPR in Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County in November 2015.
Every day, people make decisions about land use that impact whether or not communities will be safe. These decisions include where schools are sited, how streets and parks are designed, and the kinds of businesses that are allowed to operate. To the extent that safety has been taken into account in these decisions, it has mostly been through the lens of crime prevention. PI’s new paper, Community Safety by Design: Preventing Violence through Land Use, explains how a violence prevention lens and a crime prevention lens are similar, and how they are different.
One difference is that a violence prevention lens necessarily engages the end-user – community residents—in shaping land-use decisions that work for the community and support community safety. This engagement is a critical component to achieving equitable health and safety outcomes, and applies across many sectors. Our paper drew on extensive research and interviews with 23 key informants from planning, public health, the justice system, and other sectors, and outlines concrete steps to better integrate effective violence prevention strategies into land-use decisions. The report includes:
The long-awaited revised general plan guidelines include new sections on how cities and counties can promote health communities and social equity in future development. The guidelines can potentially impact health in many ways, and your input is vital to ensuring community voices are part of the process.
Register today to hear about the draft guidelines from the Governor’s Office of Research and Planning, discuss with fellow advocates about the potential impacts of the revisions, and share your feedback on the new health and equity components of the draft guidelines.
Fresno – November 10, 2015 9:00 am to 1:30 pm First Five Fresno County 2405 Tulare Street Co-hosts: CA4Health, California Bicycle Coalition, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Centro La Familia, Cultiva La Salud, Housing California, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Raimi + Associates
Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we'll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we're focusing on access to parks in Fresno County.
One of the great things about California is that throughout the year, the weather is conducive to spending time outside. The abundance of parks, beaches, coastlines, and open spaces in the state allows many of its 37 million residents to be outside and be physically active. However, not everyone in the state has equal access to these open spaces for physical activity.
While often we look at disparities between race and ethnic groups, today’s Friday Facts looks more at disparities by region. In today’s table, you can see that just over half of the people in Fresno County live within walking distance (a half mile) of a park or other open space. For comparison, roughly 70% of Los Angeles County residents can easily walk to a park. In Alameda County, that number increases to over 90%.
Obviously population density in Los Angeles and the Bay Area has a lot to do with those higher rates, but the need for more accessible open spaces in the Central Valley is noteworthy. We discussed the importance of parks in our Landscape of Opportunity report: