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Health Aff (Millwood). 2014 Nov;33(11):1890-6. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0640.

Integrating public health and community development to tackle neighborhood distress and promote well-being.

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Manuel Pastor ( is a professor of sociology and of American studies and ethnicity and director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.
Rachel Morello-Frosch is a professor in the School of Public Health and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, both at the University of California, Berkeley.


Recently there have been calls for public health to reconnect to urban planning in ways that emphasize the impact of place on health and that address fundamental causes of poor health, such as poverty, social inequality, and discrimination. Community developers have realized that poor health limits individuals' and communities' economic potential and have begun to integrate into their work such neighborhood health issues as access to fresh food and open space. In this article we review recent shifts in the community development field and give examples of programs that operate at the intersection of community development, public health, and civic engagement. For example, in Sacramento, California, the Building Healthy Communities program successfully promoted the creation of community gardens and bike paths and the redevelopment of brownfields. A major housing revitalization initiative in San Francisco, California, known as Sunnydale-Velasco, is transforming the city's largest public housing site into a mixed-income community that provides existing residents with new housing, infrastructure, services, and amenities. These examples and others illustrate the need to identify and make use of interdisciplinary approaches to ensure that all places are strong platforms for economic mobility, full democratic participation, and community health.


Determinants Of Health; Disparities; Environmental Health; Public Health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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