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Example #1: Shared-use Roosevelt: Unlocking Opportunities

Through this community-oriented project called Shared-use Roosevelt, made possible through a Health Impact Assessment, we see how a neighborhood benefits when diverse partners work together on a common goal: making school district properties accessible to the community. By opening up a vacant lot, a wellness center, and a greenhouse to the public, neighbors are able to come together, families can access healthier food and recreation opportunities, and a neighborhood can build itself up.


Example #2: A Tour of Mariposa: Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

The Mariposa Project led by the Denver Housing Authority is an affordable and transit-oriented housing development in which health outcomes and community-level improvements are evaluated. The new mixed-income community has revitalized the surrounding areas, breaking down physical barriers between the public housing units and the rest of the community and infusing the area with community-informed retail and services. The Denver Housing Authority has transformed 10th Street into a promenade that connects the rail station to the nearby Art District on Santa Fe, drawing visitors from across the city to an area that was once overlooked.

Photo of DHA Executive Director Ismael Guerrero at the Mariposa development in Denver, Colo.

Contributed by Lia Thompson, University of Kansas, Community Tool Box Intern.


Example #3: Community Health And Literacy Center: A Health, Literacy & Recreation Hub

The Community Health and Literacy Center, formed out of a collaboration between the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the City as unexpected partners, worked together to bring a neglected neighborhood both improved access to health care and health, promoting recreation and literacy opportunities.

The center, which opened in the spring of 2016, is a first-of-its-kind hospital-city partnership. The project includes a CHOP pediatric clinic; a full-service community health center run by the city’s department of public health; a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia; and a modern recreation center with a playground and green space, run by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. It offers welcoming outdoor space for the neighborhood and an indoor community meeting space. The location has excellent public transit access, with a subway stop on site. CHOP and the city are working to integrate services and programming as a way to have more of an impact on improving population health.

Photo of proposed community center.

Contributed by Lia Thompson, University of Kansas, Community Tool Box Intern.


Example #4: Community Development 2.0—Collective Impact Focuses a Neighborhood Strategy for Health

The East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) has built health into its strategic plan, and in the neighborhood revitalization work of The San Pablo Collaborative (SPARC), convened by EBALDC, health is the first priority. The San Pablo Area Revitalization Corridor neighborhood that stretches between downtown Oakland and Emeryville is considered to be one of the poorest and most disadvantaged areas of Oakland, California. Life expectancy in this area is up to 20 years lower than the neighboring area, Oakland Hills. SPARC works tirelessly to address the physical, social and economic factors-“social determinants”- that shape residents’ health in the San Pablo Avenue Corridor. SPARC partners work collectively in order to create an overall healthier environment for residents throughout the neighborhood. The California Hotel has been successfully preserved as affordable housing and a grocery store has been brought to this long abandoned neighborhood.

Learn how social determinants of health are being addressed to build healthier lives for the most disadvantaged areas of Oakland, California in this Community Close-Up from the Building Healthy Places Network.

Contributed by Lia Thompson, University of Kansas, Community Tool Box Intern.


Example #5: Revitalizing People and Place with a Healthy Food Hub Origin

Photo of woman in grocery store.

Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the founders of what became Broad Community Connections (BCC) began to attend community meetings, and investigate with their fellow community members how to rebuild a city in disarray. These discussions highlighted many of the problems that many central New Orleans resident had faced even before the storm, including but not limited to economic disadvantage, community disinvestment, health disparities, and lack of access to many needed goods and services. BCC was designed to revitalize Broad Street, a commercial thoroughfare running through the heart of the city and to connect several of the central city neighborhoods.

Founded in 2008, BCC set its sights on improving health and improving economic vitality in the area. Ultimately, the ReFresh project provided a high-quality grocery store to a low-income food desert and created a multi-faceted hub to improve healthy food access and local food systems, foster community connectivity, support youth development, and anchor economic development.

Read more about the ReFresh project in New Orleans on the Building Healthy Places Network blog.

Contributed by Lia Thompson, University of Kansas, Community Tool Box Intern.


Example #6: Housing and Soccer: A winning Team in East New York

Photo of kids playing soccer.

Soccer is more than a game for many residents in a low-income Brooklyn neighborhood, as it has the potential to provide residents with an opportunity to a better life. HELP USA is an organization that provides shelter, housing and jobs to homeless and at risk people across five states. In addition, HELP USA through a partnership is able to provide medical and dental services and an after-school program. In recent years, HELP USA has incorporated soccer into its-after school program through its affiliate, Street Soccer USA (SSUSA). SSUSA and HELP USA’S goals align perfectly, as both organizations seek to improve health, education, and employment outcomes for the disadvantaged by using sports to teach life skills like punctuality and dependability.

Read more about HELP USA on How Housing Matters.

Contributed by Lia Thompson, University of Kansas, Community Tool Box Intern.


Example #7: Building Strong Neighborhoods with community programs

Photo of the New Settlement Community Campus.

The New Settlement Community Campus is a 172,000 sq. ft. community school facility that combines two public schools, special education classrooms, a health clinic, and outdoor play spaces, with an aquatics center, dance studio, green roof learning terrace, cooking classroom and multipurpose spaces. This development addressees the need to alleviate overcrowded schools and the need for space in order to expand the community’s programs for youth and families.

Contributed by Lia Thompson, University of Kansas, Community Tool Box Intern.


Example #8: The Mosque Around the Street

Muslim community leaders in Memphis wanted a commodious place where they could gather for other purposes besides worship, i.e. weddings, parties, holidays, day care services, recreational activities, etc. The Islamic center had purchased 30 acres near the intersection of Humphrey and Houston Levee roads right across the street from a Christian church. As construction of the new Islamic Center progressed slowly the Christian church members decided to share their place of worship and welcome the Muslim community. Out of this simple act of kindness many friendships and relationships were developed and a community became more religiously and culturally tolerant.

Read more about The Mosque Around the Street.

Contributed by Lia Thompson, University of Kansas, Community Tool Box Intern.


Example #9: Tempe Sound Canopy; A Respite for Resident and Performers

Image of Tempe Sound Canopy.

Tempe Sound Canopy. Photo by Jesus Gutierrez.

The summer of 2017 in Tempe, Arizona the director of placemaking, Julie Kent had a dream to use an area downtown that was used for a roll-off dumpster to be transformed into a place to “invite people to hangout and connect with other people they wouldn’t normally connect to.” Home of Arizona State University, students submitted their plans for how to use this new space. An architectural sculpture student was chosen with her “sound canopy” idea to use this space for a stage in the evenings, and seating during the day.  Through the making and installation of the sound canopy, the community came together to support one another. As various restaurants are asking to have it in front of their business, Kent is hoping to continue to unify community members through music and art.

Learn more at Creative Exchange’s Springboard for the Arts.

Contributed by Meagan Ziegler.


Example #10: It’s Not Just About the Buildings: How Community Development Organizations are Promoting Residents’ Mental Health

Around the country, housing and community development groups are increasingly stepping up to partner with residents to improve community well-being by proactively strengthening residents’ emotional and mental health. Read more.

Example #11: Culdesac: Banning Cars and Building Community

A photo of signs and bicycles

Much of the U.S.’ housing stock alienates people from their communities and each other, however a new housing development in the Southwest is changing that by eliminating cars, and intentional design.