Addressing Health Disparities Through Building Healthier Communities: A Focus on California

Los Angeles (February 8, 2007)- Across the country, the state of the built environment — the design of neighborhoods and man-made structures such as buildings, roads and sidewalks — is having detrimental effects on the public’s health. Building healthier communities can help address existing health disparities.


Residents who live in low-income areas are at particular risk because these neighborhoods are often of poor quality. Housing, schools, and other structures in these areas are often unsafe and dilapidated. These communities often lack access to affordable fresh foods and good social services.
Pollution sources, such as mass transit and industry are more often than not located in these areas. Further, people who live in these communities are typically minorities. It is not surprising that leading health issues such as asthma, obesity and heart disease (all health issues that are now understood to be linked to the built environment) are more prevalent among these disparate populations.
Learn more from:
* Moderator: Earl Johnson, Ph.D., Senior Program Officer, California Works for Better Health, The California Endowment
* Larry Cohen, MSW, Executive Director, Prevention Institute
* Andrea Hricko, MPH, Associate Professor of Preventative Medicine University of Southern California, & Director, Community Outreach & Education, Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center
* Antronette “Toni” Yancey, MD, MPH, Co-Director, Center to Eliminate Health Disparties, UCLA School of Public Health
About Smart Growth
Ten years ago, smart growth was a burgeoning concept- one that had gained footing in a few progressive places throughout the country. These days, smart growth plays an important role in communities across the nation. Smart Growth is about quality of life and the ability for all people to have access to decent livable communities. For some, this is inherent in their daily lives. For many others, especially those in the middle and lower classes, choices and options for safe and healthy living are few.
Whether the problem is the jobs/housing imbalance, increasing vehicle miles traveled, competition for localized tax base, open space preservation, or air and water quality, the importance of a regional model for smart growth planning is critical. Local governments and their neighbors need to find common ground through understanding the benefits of land use polices directed at making the regional healthier, this will in turn create more livable communities in localized neighborhoods.
About the 6th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth: Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities (February 8-10, 2007)
The 2007 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Los Angeles, California, hosted record attendance of over 1,500 people from across the country for three full days of presentations, discussions, and information sharing. The conference was produced by the Local Government Commission (LGC). Audio CDs of the conference are also available. Nearly all of the conference sessions, plenaries, breakouts and workshops were audio recorded.
For more information, visit
New Partners for SmartGrowth
Smart Growth Online