Leveraging the Built Environment for Health Equity

Leveraging the Built Environment for Health Equity. Urban Institute. Martha Fedorowicz et al. July 14, 2020

This research project seeks to identify changes to the built environment that small and medium-size cities can make to promote health and health equity. We focus specifically on small and medium-size cities—that is, cities whose populations are less than 250,000—because little research explores how small and medium-size cities are implementing policies, plans, programs, project, and pilots to address the health inequities in their communities. Based on a literature scan, we identified six built environment domains that are connected to community health and cover common policy and practitioner fields:

• Safe, healthy, and affordable housing
• Active living assets and facilities
• Regional and local infrastructure
• Food security, health, and nutrition
• Vacant property reclamation and urban greening
• Neighborhood and community design

Through our research scan and analysis under each domain, we selected 10 interventions across different dimensions of the built environment that could affect health and health equity. In this report, we present the research evidence for the interventions’ effectiveness and examples of their application in small and medium-size cities. In addition to presenting these interventions, we share 13 promising practices for small and medium-size cities that are focused on how to apply a health equity lens to built environment interventions and how to overcome implementation challenges. Accompanying the paper is a file that contains demographic, economic, and health data on the 72 small and medium-size cities that our quantitative analysis considered. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 106 pages].

How States Can Support Shared Prosperity in Cities through Quality Jobs

How States Can Support Shared Prosperity in Cities through Quality Jobs. Urban Institute. Donnie Charleston. March 26, 2020

New technologies, economic shifts, changing demographics and continued racial biases are widening income inequalities and racial disparities in cities across the United States. As a result, economic opportunities are increasingly concentrated among a small share of the population and in a limited number of places. To combat increased economic and geographic inequality within cities, local leaders are launching new efforts to enable women, people of color and other underrepresented groups to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. But local leaders cannot address these issues on their own. In an era of federal withdrawal from investments in communities and the social safety net, state and local leaders must work together to advance shared prosperity. In this series of briefs, we articulate why the issues of affordable housing, job growth and upskilling workers matter to statewide shared prosperity. In addition, we explore how state and local governments can forge more effective partnerships, and we profile states that are leading the way.
In this brief, the authors discuss how state and local governments can more effectively partner to grow quality jobs in cities. They acknowledge that the complexity of the challenges requires more integrated and complimentary workforce development and job growth strategies. In an accompanying brief, they address more directly the human capital development strategies that should work in tandem with job growth and economic development approaches examined in this brief. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 20 pages].

Towards More Inclusive Climate Change Adaptation: Journal

Towards More Inclusive Climate Change Adaptation: Journal. International Institute for Environment and Development. April 2019.

Our understanding of climate change impacts and vulnerability in urban centres has grown rapidly in recent years, as has the number of cities developing and implementing plans to respond to the challenges of climate change. The papers in this issue explore such plans and responses in a variety of contexts and scales, from transnational networks for adaptation that incorporate Indonesian cities, to urban adaptation in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Several papers explore the gendered aspects of adaptation (in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Khulna City, Bangladesh). Another zeroes in on the way urban migrants are particularly affected in India.

A common theme is attention to the informal settlements that are particularly exposed to climate-related hazards in cities. Another theme across the papers in this issue is the need for genuinely inclusive adaptation; one paper details the participatory planning processes in three small- to medium-sized Latin American cities.

Also in this issue of Environment and Urbanization are papers on: 50 years of housing policies in Latin America; the Smart Cities craze in India; participatory slum upgrading in Afghanistan; household water consumption in Shanghai; policy pilots for co-production in four Chinese cities; the use of satellilte data to study Indian slums; sanitation bye-law enforcement in Accra; provision of basic services in Syria; and malaria in peri-urban areas of Colombia. [Note: contains copyrighted material].


How to Enable Electric Bus Adoption in Cities Worldwide

How to Enable Electric Bus Adoption in Cities Worldwide. World Resources Institute.  Xiangyi Li et al. May 2019

Electric buses could pioneer a new age of clean and efficient urban transport and put cities on track towards sustainability. However, electric bus adoption is not accelerating fast enough for the world to meet transport-related global climate objectives and help limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.

The aim of this report is to fill in knowledge gaps and provide actionable guidance for transit agencies and bus operating entities to help them overcome the most common and debilitating barriers to electric bus adoption. It provides a step-by-step guidance to establish and achieve electric bus adoption targets using concrete and diverse real-world experiences.

Transit agencies and bus operating entities are encouraged to maximize electric bus adoption targets based on local conditions and to develop a responsible strategy for implementation. They should be actively involved in planning and analysis; be serious about piloting and testing projects; and collaborate with city policymakers and other stakeholders to accelerate a responsible adoption of electric buses. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 68 pages].

The Opportunities and Risks of K-12 Student Placement Algorithms

The Opportunities and Risks of K-12 Student Placement Algorithms. Brookings Institution. Matt Kasman and Jon Valant. February 28, 2019

How students are assigned to schools is changing, especially in urban areas. After decades of using students’ home addresses to determine school assignments, many U.S. cities are now turning to placement algorithms—alongside school choice policies—to determine which students can attend which particular schools. These algorithms, built on the Nobel Prize-winning theory of market design, elicit families’ ranked preferences for schools and use those preferences, along with schools’ priorities, to match students and schools. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

Building beyond Policing: A Case Study of Eden Night Live in Alameda County, California

Building beyond Policing: A Case Study of Eden Night Live in Alameda County, California. Urban Institute. Cameron Okeke. September 25, 2018

 Key takeaway: How community parties have helped California sheriffs rethink public safety

This report describes how the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office used Eden Night Live, a community festival and pop-up marketplace, to creatively reimagine and rebuild community-police relations in Ashland/Cherryland. Through interviews with officers, community members, and staff, this case study examines how artistic performance, community participation, and community-based economic development can build local commerce, foster community cohesion, and change perceptions of public safety. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 42 pages].

IOT, Automation, Autonomy, and Megacities in 2025: A Dark Preview

IOT, Automation, Autonomy, and Megacities in 2025: A Dark Preview. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Michael Assante, Andrew Bochman. April 26, 2017

This paper extrapolates from present trends to describe plausible future crises playing out in multiple global cities within 10 years. While predicting the future is fraught with uncertainty, much of what occurs in the scenarios presented here is fully possible today and, absent a significant course change, probable in the timeframe discussed.

It is not hard to find tech evangelists touting that ubiquitous and highly interconnected digital technology will bring great advances in productivity and efficiency, as well as new capabilities we cannot foresee. This paper attempts to reveal what is possible when these technologies are applied to critical infrastructure applications en masse without adequate security in densely populated cities of the near future that are less resilient than other environments. Megacities need and will deploy these new technologies to keep up with insatiable demand for energy, communications, transportation, and other services, but it is important to recognize that they are also made more vulnerable by following this path. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 16 pages, 294.46 KB].