241236 Bringing physical activity to the city streets: A case study of Harvest Home PlayStreets

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:30 AM

Jennifer So Godzeno, MSUP, MPH , Pedestrian Advocacy Manager, Transportation Alternatives, New York, NY
Julia D. Day , Transportation Alternatives, New York, NY
Maysoun Freij, PhD, MPH , New York Academy of Medicine, Senior Evaluator/ Researcher, New York City, NY
Javier Lopez, MPA , NYC Strategic Alliance for Health, New York, NY
Vijay Nandi, MPH , Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies, New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Maritza Owens , Harvest Home Farmers Market, New York, NY
Background: Streets and sidewalks comprise 80% of New York City public space. Ninety-seven out of 188 neighborhoods do not provide enough play space for children in NYC. Childhood obesity disproportionately impacts children in lower income areas such as Harlem and the South Bronx, where 40% of primary school children are overweight or obese. Methods: As part of a CDC funded initiative, three collaborating organizations engaged over 30 community partners in East Harlem and the South Bronx to develop Harvest Home PlayStreets (HHPS). In 2010, nine HHPS days were organized in two separate locations on city streets that were closed to traffic for a weekly farmers market. HHPSs sought to increase physical activity among youth through a mix of programmed and self-directed outdoors activities. An independent evaluation of HHPS involved street intercept surveys with individuals over 10 years of age (n=133), and structured observations. Results: Over 1200 youth participated in activities at the HHPSs. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed reported living within 10 blocks of the HHPS. Forty-four percent reported engaging in physical activity at HHPSs, and 64% reported that they would have otherwise been engaged in a sedentary activity. Ninety-two percent said they felt safe from car traffic at the HHPS. Conclusions: Street space can be repurposed as PlayStreets to provide greater access to safe outdoor play spaces close to home. Model PlayStreets can be built around existing farmers markets and street closures. However expansion of this model requires a streamlined application process and institutionalization within NYC.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the purpose of a playstreet. 2. Describe the process of developing the Harvest Home PlayStreet program and the results from the evaluation of its implementation. 3. List best practices for developing play streets. 4. Design collaborative PlayStreet programs for low income urban environments.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Urban Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I implemented and evaluated the Harvest Home Play Streets, and am an advocate for policies that improve pedestrian infrastructure and open space access. I have several years experience in active design research.
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.