Crossings at 29th St. / San Pedro St. Area Health Impact Assessment
Authors: Human Impact Partners
Location: Oakland, California, United States
Completion Date: August 2009
Summary of the HIA
Proposed Policy or Project
The Crossings at 29th Street is a proposed 11.6 acre development providing more than 450 units of affordable housing along with retail and multipurpose space for community activities. The four-block area where The Crossings will be developed is located in South Los Angeles, is currently being rezoned from industrial to residential, and is next to a residential community and an elementary school. Los Angeles ACORN (Associations of Community Organizations for Reform Now), a local community-based organization, worked in collaboration with Urban Housing Communities (UHC), a housing developer, on the proposal and site plan for The Crossings. Both UHC and ACORN expressed their interest in developing The Crossings in a way that would address local community needs for affordable housing and for other community assets that are safe, healthy and supportive. The area surrounding The Crossings’ project site is home to a growing population of mostly low- and very low-income families with children where overcrowding, substandard housing and lack of access to transportation and healthy food are serious health concerns for the community. As such, this project has the potential to bring many health benefits to the local population and the surrounding community.
Background and Policy Context
For more than five years, members of ACORN along with other community stakeholders (including parents, students and teachers) have engaged in efforts to remove Palace Plating, a polluting chrome electroplating facility, from the neighborhood, and urge the city of Los Angeles to consider rezoning this industrial area. In 2006, Urban Housing Communities entered into negotiations with Palace Plating over the sale of their property, and was able to secure control of four blocks of industrial property in the area. UHC also obtained a $3.5 million preconstruction loan from the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA). In 2008, the City Council of Los Angeles approved the processing of a General Plan amendment to allow re-zoning for residential use of the entire area bordered by San Pedro, Griffith, 29th Street, and 31st Street. Phase I, on the south side of East 29th Street between Griffith Avenue and San Pedro Street, is scheduled to break ground in Spring, 2010.
Scope and Methods
At the request of Los Angeles ACORN, with the agreement of Urban Housing Communities, and with support from The California Endowment, Human Impact Partners conducted a Health Impact Assessment to evaluate whether the proposed plans for The Crossings development would help realize health and well-being benefits or potentially lead to negative health outcomes for local community residents; and to issue community recommendations for improving health through redevelopment policy in the 29th St. / San Pedro St. area. The HIA considered how health would be impacted by changes in housing, transportation and pedestrian safety, access to retail and services, and parks and recreation facilities. Recommendations as to how to mitigate negative health outcomes or improve potential benefits to health for each of these areas were developed.
Summary of Findings
Development of The Crossings, and other potential redevelopment projects in the 29th St. / San Pedro St. area, have the potential to bring many benefits to the health and well-being of local residents living in the area through increasing:
- The number of homes that are affordable to moderate- and low-income residents including families with children;
- Neighborhood walkability, bikeability and access to public transportation;
- Access for local residents to health-promoting goods and services, such as grocery stores and other healthy-food retail, as well as health care services;
- Access to parks and recreational facilities where residents, including families and youth can exercise, socialize and relax; and
- Educational opportunities, including early childhood and afterschool programs, which can provide safe environments as well as improve academic and social development for youth.
Engagement of community residents in this project has been critical to understanding the potential impacts that the development could have on the community. Participation from the community as well as the City of Los Angeles will be crucial in order for this and other local and regional healthy development projects to move forward successfully.
Decisions/Actions following the release of the HIA
Following the release of the HIA, ACORN members and community residents had a successful meeting with Los Angeles City Council member Jan Perry to discuss the HIA recommendations for The Crossings development. Jan Perry expressed overarching support for the HIA’s recommendations. Urban Housing Communities is taking the HIA recommendations very seriously, for example, they are going to use the HIA findings and recommendations to help determine the housing affordability rates for The Crossings beginning in Phase II. Groundbreaking for the first phase of The Crossings development is scheduled for April 2010. Community members and organizations in the areas surrounding The Crossings continue to use the HIA findings and recommendations to advocate for changes that will improve the health and well-being of the current and future residents.
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