Revitalizing Baltimore Community Health and Well-being. Jackie Carrera, Parks & People Foundation NAASF Urban Committee Annual Meeting May 12, 2010. Community Health and Well-being: The Baltimore Story. Introduction Background Urban Ecosystem Services Community Health and Well-being
Jackie Carrera, Parks & People Foundation
NAASF Urban Committee Annual Meeting
May 12, 2010
Community Health and Well-being
Dedicated to supporting a wide range of recreational and educational opportunities, creating and sustaining beautiful and lively parks, and promoting a healthy, natural environmental for Baltimore.
Green Communities Division
A sustainable urban and community forestry program built on research and technology, with active volunteer participation and effective partnerships and the integration of our community’s political/policy, social and environmental infrastructure
Urban Resources Initiative
Baltimore Ecosystem Study
The health and well being of the human population depends on the services provided by ecosystems and their components – organisms, soil, water and nutrients
Services include food and water; regulation of floods, drought, land degradation, and disease; supporting services including soil formation and nutrient cycling; cultural services such as recreational, spiritual and religious
Low tree cover
Poor access to green space
Lack of connection to nature
Poor economic development/ disinvestment
Baltimore hosts 2.8 million trees
Urban Forest replacement is valued at $3.4 billion
Tree canopy is 20% of land area
Neighborhood tree canopy varies from 64% to less than 1%
Source: USFS UFORE Model and Title VIII image
Healthy people and healthy environment are inextricably linked
Health impacts of a degraded ecosystem are evident, especially among poor and vulnerable populations
Trees provide numerous public health benefits: reduced asthma rates, lower obesity and related diseases, as well as mental health benefits and reduced violence and aggression
Nationally, health disparities between racial and ethnic minority and majority groups and lower-income and higher-income populations are well documented.
Baltimore is a 60% African-American city with a growing Latino presence, where 40% of households have income less than $30,000.
A 2008 study concluded that street trees were associated with a lower prevalence of early childhood asthma.
Dales RE, Cakmak S, Judek S, Coates F: Tree Pollen and Hospitalization for Asthma in Urban Canada.Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2008;146:241-247 (DOI: 10.1159/000116360)
How Cities use Parks to Improve Public Health. Retrieved March 3, 2009, from APA Web site: http://www.planning.org/cityparks/briefingpapers/physicalactivity.htm
“Tree-lined streets ‘cut asthma.’” BBC News. May 1, 2008.
A public housing study in Chicago found that public spaces with better grass cover and tree canopy had increased use by neighborhood residents, with increased positive social activity and increased healthy physical activity.
Levine-Coley, R, Kuo F, Sullivan W: “Where does the community grow? The social context created by nature in urban public housing.” Environment and Behavior 1998 , 30(1):3 – 27.
Aggression and violence, and incidents of domestic violence, are lower in buildings with more greenery nearby.
Kuo, Frances E. and William C. Sullivan. “Aggression and Violence in the Inner City: Effects of Environment via Mental Fatigue.” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 33 No. 4. 2001.
Children with behavior disorders concentrate and complete tasks better after spending time near trees.
Frumkin, Howard. “Healthy Places: Exploring the Evidence.” American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 93, No. 9. 2003.
Contact with trees leads to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, quicker recovery from surgery, increased survival rates following a heart attack, lower stress levels and fewer minor medical ailments.
American Planning Association. “How Cities Use Parks to Improve Public Health.” 2003.
To develop a watershed and urban forest restoration project and implement measurable improvements with active community participation and stewardship for a watershed of enclosed streams where the environmental quality and social fabric are both impaired and revitalization is greatly desired.
Bush Street Outfall
(25 feet diameter)
(looking north west)
Research and Technology
Primary Partners: Baltimore City Department of Public Works, Parks & People Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, Baltimore Ecosystem Study, MD DNR
Funding support: U.S. Forest Service, DNR Maryland Forest Service and Green Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/EPA, NOAA, Baltimore City Department of Public Works, Baltimore City Planning/Critical Areas Mitigation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Rauch Foundation, and Campbell Foundation for the Environment.
Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Prepare a model urban storm sewer watershed management plan and greening strategy that can be replicated by others.
Organize and educate watershed residents and organizations to effectively participate as stakeholders.
Improve communications and coordination among many agencies and organizations and undertake education and outreach campaigns.
Identify the “universe” of cost-effective, community-based remediation activities.
Undertake restoration demonstration projects and measure and report outcomes.
Nature Play Areas
Prepared a water quality restoration plan and a SWMM model for water quality project planning as well as surveyed, mapped and monitored 43 miles of storm drains based on a set of urban watershed indicators.
Facilitated a community proposal for a watershed greening strategy including creating a 6-mile neighborhood bicycle and pedestrian “trail” connecting all historic parks and school sites to the existing 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail.
Conducted 50 public education and training workshops and engaged residents.
Organized education and outreach campaigns and restoration projects at 11 schools with 10 neighborhood associations and 5 businesses.
Assisted with the removal of nearly 4 acres of obsolete schoolyard asphalt and the re-greening of the area with school students, teachers and parents actively involved.
Implemented more than 15 community-initiated watershed restoration demonstration projects.
Planted more than 800 street, park and schoolyard trees and mulched and cared for many more trees with community volunteers and AmeriCorp youth crews along the proposed neighborhood “trail” connecting to the Gwynns Falls Trail in the lower industrial portion of the watershed.
Analyzed 190 acres of city-owned and 40 acres of privately-owned open space for future restoration opportunities.
Assisted the Baltimore Ecosystem Study researchers including USFS and City DPW staff in undertaking base condition data collection, assessment and water quality monitoring.
Formed a community-based Watershed Stakeholder Council to assist with long-term management, monitoring and evaluation of project implementation of the watershed restoration project.
Implemented 9 specifically designed restoration demonstration projects in one of two sub-drainage basin of 40 acres that are monitored by Baltimore Ecosystem Study for storm water conditions and begin storm water harvesting projects