This 4-disc Supplemental Media Collection explores issues in more depth that were raised in the Designing Healthy Communities Series, with 11 short films and a full two hour Town Hall Meeting discussion in New York City. View the full Designing Healthy Communities Series here.
Disc 1: IMPROVING PUBLIC HEALTH Videos 1-4 (54 minutes)Otana Fights for Clean Air (10:45)
More children in the U. S. die from the effects of air pollution than automobile accidents. Sixteen-year old high school science scholar, Otana Jakpor, lives in Riverside, California, a region with some of the worst air quality in our nation. Otana’s mother, a trained pediatrician, can no longer practice medicine because her severe asthma is aggravated by the poor air. Having seen her mother nearly die several times from this disease, Otana makes it her life’s mission to improve the air we all breathe, battling all the way to the White House. Ports in a Storm (15:36)
Shipping ports are hubs of commerce for the transportation of goods overseas and within the US. The diesel engines fueling massive cargo ships, as well as the freight trains and trucks that transport goods to and from the ships, make the air quality around these ports some of the worst in our nation. Life expectancy near a thriving port is 25% less than in non-polluted areas. Lifetime West Oakland resident Margaret Gordon, 51, a grandmother and former housekeeper, decided to do something about her community’s polluted air after she saw her and her children’s health deteriorate further because of the dangerous amounts of diesel particulate spewing from the nearby Port of Oakland. Today, college trained, Margaret has become an important environmental citizen activist. As a result, she was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Port of Oakland where she helps oversee the massive cleanup underway to improve Oakland’s air.
Walkability With Expert Dan Burden
How do you make walking cool? Walkability expert (and one-of-a-kind) Dan Burden takes a group of UCLA college students on a walking audit in neighboring Westwood to show how a few design changes could radically re-imagine their community into a more people- friendly, less car-centric, community.
A Public Health Perspective: Four Experts Speak Out (16:00)
Four public health experts: Dr. Howard Frumkin, DrPH, MPH, MD; Cynthia Morrow, MPH ,MD; Anthony Iton, JD, MPH, MD, and Jonathan Fielding MPH, MA, MBA MD reveal the link between chronic disease and the poor design of public spaces. They discuss how redesigning communities can improve the health of our nation. Dr. Frumkin accompanies Designing Healthier Communities host Dr. Richard Jackson on a walking tour of Decatur, Georgia as an example of a well-designed, health-promoting urban community. Disc 2: FIGHTING OBESITY Videos 5-7 (53 minutes)
Obesity Now: How One Grandmother Copes (13:30)
One third of our nation is obese and the statistics continue to climb. In Emeryville, California, 420-pound grandmother Connie Williams struggles with her obesity- related health issues as she attempts to raise 7 of her 9 grandchildren. If something happens to her, who will take care of these children? The children themselves worry about their grandmother and try to care for her. Diets and exercise plans have failed Connie in the past. Can she overcome her heavy odds?
Getting Our Children Off Their Couches (21:25)
Today, over 1 in 3 U.S. children are overweight or obese. Three-quarters of all U.S. children cannot pass a simple fitness test. As a result, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and illnesses relating to obesity and inactivity are rising dramatically in young people. Healthy eating and physical activity are ways we can save the younger generation from a shortened lifespan. School and community vegetable gardens, nutrition programs, health conscious school cafeterias, physical education for all, and communities designed to be safer and friendlier for biking, walking and physical exercise are explored in this video. End Food Deserts! (18:25)
In many areas in our nation, healthy food is just not available. The absence of supermarkets with affordable fresh produce means that many lower-income residents are forced to purchase food from fast food restaurants, convenience and liquor stores, and even gas station shoppes. In South Central Los Angeles, 17-year old high school student Lae Schmidt rides two hours on public transit to get to the closest market that sells fresh produce. Elsewhere, LA students convince local convenience store owners to sell and promote fresh produce. In Syracuse, NY the Mobile Market Food Truck sells healthy produce at affordable prices in areas that have no grocery stores. Other best practice solutions including community gardens, urban agriculture on abandoned lots, and farmers’ markets are presented.
Disc 3: REVITALIZING COMMUNITIES Videos 8-11 (65 minutes)Placemaking (19:52)
Based on the 1960’s work and research of Jane Jacobs and William “Holly” Whyte, Fred Kent (for whom Whyte was a mentor) founded Project for Public Spaces. PPS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the placemaking process. Believing that the people of an area know more than outside experts, PPS guides citizens in making their cities and neighborhoods the kinds of places they like to visit. Advocates and placemaking projects highlighted are: Campus Marshes in Detroit; Mayor Joseph P Riley, It’s work to revitalize downtown Charleston, SC,; Ed Ellis, 71-year old retired Philadelphia grocer who personally changes a trash filled lot into a community garden and park; and the powerful story of the diminutive Chinese artist Lily Yeh. Lily was the least likely candidate to help guide the residents of a ravaged, dangerous, inner-city area in North Philadelphia into transforming their neighborhood to what is now the Village of Arts and Humanities. Today, Lily continues her inspiring placemaking work on a global scale including the Rwanda Healing Project. A Study in Infill (14:15)
Bringing vitality back into blighted cities, communities are using infill to restore street patterns and density as part of a smart growth agenda. Urban infill projects can transform areas, giving them new purpose while stitching continuity back into a neighborhood. In Syracuse, NY the West Side Initiative and Syracuse University have successfully undertaken multiple infill projects that have reversed urban decay.
Elgin’s Students Act in Time (10:44)
Once the home of the mighty Elgin National Watch Factory, today’s Elgin Illinois struggles with a dying downtown and sluggish economy. Environmental Science Students at Elgin High School focus on various solutions that will impact and improve the health and economic wellbeing of their community by making Elgin more sustainable.
Pedal Power! (20:28)
This video examines bicycling as a viable transportation alternative to the car. Bike Stations in Chicago and Seattle are profiled. How public transit can accommodate bike riders is presented. Cities including Boulder, CO and Portland, OR are showcased because they have improved bike safety by installing dedicated bike lanes and separated off-street bikeways.
Disc 4: NEW YORK TOWN HALL (2 hours)
Sixteen expert panelists, led by series host Dr. Jackson, discuss the common characteristics of unhealthy communities and how they can be changed. Discussion also touches upon the impact of Superstorm Sandy on the health of area communities. The two-hour recorded discussion is moderated by Mike Schneider, managing editor of NJTV’s weeknight news program, NJ Today with Mike Schneider. Broadcast on WNET.