204258 Sustainability for low income communities

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:15 AM

Amelia Louise Greiner, MS , Department of Health Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
The role sustainability efforts can play in low income communities has the potential to be great. Sustainability entails efforts to make these locations not only environmentally sustainable but socially and economically sustainable as well. With this definition, sustainability looks to incorporate considerations of environmental justice and address the health and wellbeing of people and places. For example, the health benefits of better insulated and energy efficient buildings could reduce heat island effects and weather-related disease in summers and winters. A combination of good design and access to retail and quality green space could positively impact injuries, cardiovascular disease, mental health and crime. With this definition guiding sustainability efforts in low income communities, the potential economic benefits are many. For example, more-energy efficient housing could allow a larger percentage of a household's earnings to meet needs other than heating and cooling. Sustainable initiatives can begin to address issues such as providing quality housing for diverse populations (age, income and household size), encouraging small business development, and creating green jobs in the community. This talk will provide examples of the variety of sustainability measures available, examples of ways in which such measures have been implemented in low-income settings, ideas for further development and applications of such measures (such as zoning considerations) and engage the audience on how to address some of the challenges in pursuing these goals.

Learning Objectives:
Define sustainability and provide example of measures. List examples of how sustainability can positively impact low income communities. Discuss the role of environmental justice considerations in sustainability policy. Discuss and identify challenges of pursuing sustainability efforts in low income communities.

Keywords: Urban Health, Low-Income

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My dissertation research is related to zoning, health and environmental justice.There is enormous potential in thinking about how these relate to low-income areas (and the need for conversation about potential negative unintended consequences). I have worked a fair amount with different sustainability metrics (LEED-ND, Whole Measures) and am on ICLEI's STAR Community Index Technical Advisory Board (a voluntary, unpaid position), and we'll be working to create sustainability measures to be used nation-wide. Last year I helped to coordinate a conference entitled Health and the City which addressed the intersection of urban planning and health. I have attended the US Green Building Council's conference on sustainability and attended the sessions about the need for equity in sustainability efforts.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.