COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE

Safe community infrastructure refers to the development of aspects of the built environment, including complete streets, sidewalks, marked crossings, public utilities, and community gathering spaces. Good maintenance of functional infrastructure plays a critical role in promoting health by encouraging residents to feel safe and capable of traveling throughout their communities.

DISPARITIES AND STATISTICS

  • Race and Ethnicity: Communities of color have higher exposure rates to air pollution than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. Landfills, hazardous waste sites, and other industrial facilities are most often located in communities of color. 13

  • Socioeconomic Status: While almost 90% of high-income areas have sidewalks on one or both sides of the street, in low-income communities that percentage drops to 49%. Streets with street lighting are also significantly more common in high-income areas than in low-income communities. Streets with marked crosswalks are almost double as common in high-income areas than in low-income communities. Traffic calming features, such as traffic islands, curb bulb outs that shorten crossing distances, and traffic circles, are found almost three times as often in high-income areas compared with low-income communities.14

  • Health: Communities cannot thrive or enjoy good health unless they are safe. Violence and fear of violence increase the risk of poor health outcomes and undermine the community supports and conditions that would otherwise promote health and wellbeing. Now that safety is recognized as a community health issue, many are developing place-based solutions tailored to the unique needs of their communities.15

Antonio Lewis