Online Program

Sustainability in Community Revitalization: Working at the Intersection of Climate Change, Community Development and Health

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Jennifer Miller, PhD, Build Healthy Places Network, Public Health Institute, San Francisco, CA
Disadvantaged communities experience, disproportionately, the health impacts of climate change. Life stressors such as poverty, housing instability, joblessness, poor health, poor education, and unsafe neighborhood conditions leave people more vulnerable to new threats and exposures. The community development sector has long worked to remediate poverty and improve living conditions in low income communities. In recent years, innovative community developers have engaged in revitalization projects that work to address multiple social determinants of health at once, co-locating both built environment improvements (housing, parks, transportation, commercial space) and programs and services, to bring real transformation to struggling neighborhoods and improvements to the health and lives of residents. Such projects work to build resilience in ways that promise to be protective in the face of climate impacts. And yet, because the community developent sector addresses infrastructure and the built environment, numerous opportunities exist to address sustainability and climate mitigation and adaptation more explicitly and therefore more significantly, an opportunity that, for example, the Green Communities Criteria for affordable housing devleopment codifies and supports.

This study, drawing upon a larger research project examining over 25 case studies of community health hubs, explores the approaches, challenges and solutions encountered in community revitalization projects that explicitly include sustainability and “green” goals in projects that integrate addressing multiple social determinants of health. Based on current understandings of and recommendations for community-based mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies that support health, we examine how health and climate co-benefits have been incorporated and what barriers exist to more extensive incorporation of “green” goals. We close with a discussion of the limitations of what the community development sector can do with respect to climate change, and discuss the importance of urban and regional planning to ensure that health, mitigation and adaptation targets and goals can be achieved.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain the opportunities to address climate change, health and equity in community development projects. Describe affordable housing Green Building Standards, and their current application in US public housing development. Discuss the capacity for and limitations of community development to address climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

Keyword(s): Climate and Health, Built Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For over a decade I worked on statewide, nationally influential place-based initiatives taking a policy and systems change approach to improving community health and addressing chronic disease; I am currently conducting research into innovative community development projects that integrate multi-faceted built environment improvements with programs and services, addressing multiple social determinants of health for and with community residents. Parallel work has focused on addressing climate change and health, including health co-benefits of climate strategies.
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.

Back to: 5093.0: Climate Change III