Placemaking in the Neighborhood Surrounding Saint Luke's
There is a growing body of research that illustrates the connection between “place” and health – and it is well documented that a person’s zip code can influence health more than their genetic code. The commission to build a Healthy America tells us that our homes and communities have enormous impact on our health. Living in unhealthy homes and communities severely limits choices and availability of resources. Healthy environments include safe, well-maintained housing and neighborhoods with sidewalks, playgrounds and well-maintained parks, trees, attractive scenery and full-service grocery stores.
Social connections play a big role in creating a sense of place for residents and business owners. Opportunities for civic engagement, safety and thriving businesses whose services and products are appealing to residents contribute to the creation of healthy neighborhoods. Placemaking initiatives, such as resident-led arts events or community garden projects, create opportunities for socialization, and volunteerism, which have been shown to reduce psychological distress and depression. According to the Project for Public Spaces, evidence also indicates that placemaking strategies work to increase safety, perceived safety and mitigate crime.
But, a place is not just where there is a sense of community, it is also where the built environment allows for healthy behaviors. The CDC describes healthy places as “those designed and built to improve the quality of life for all people who live, work, worship, learn and play within their borders—where every person is free to make choices amid a variety of healthy, available, accessible, and affordable options.”
Although the links between physical activity, proper nutrition, greenspace, a clean environment, and health are well known, the built environment in our neighborhoods does not do enough to promote healthy lifestyles. We are committed to improvement of the Buckeye, Woodhill, Shaker Square and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods and supporting their need for more safe open spaces that encourage exercise, more greenspace, more bike paths, more inviting and usable public transportation and easily accessible, affordable, nutritious food. We are also staunchly committed to supporting community-based efforts that strengthen a sense of community.