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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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Your neighborhood and your health


Transportation and Health Equity Series, Part VI


We’ve talked about how Aaron, Julie, and Mateo might have various health outcomes based on ‘social determinants of health,’ such as race, income, and education.  But we in the planning and health fields believe that negative implications of one’s “social determinants” can be overcome and are working to give those that might be at risk for poor health a better chance to be healthy.

If you live in Portland, you probably have realized that each neighborhood in the city is unique.  Hang out in the Pearl for a while and then head out to Lents - same city, very different experience.  Portland’s neighborhoods have different landscapes, different assets, and different behaviors.  The Portland Bureau of Transportation is looking to influence these neighborhoods in a way that can improve the health of Portlanders that need it most! 

Now let’s place Aaron, Julie, and Mateo. Aaron lives in inner N/NE Portland by Emmanuel Hospital, Julie lives in NW by the Montgomery Park building, and Mateo lives in SE near Mt. Tabor.  View this table to see how environments, specifically in terms of access to physical activity, air quality, and safety might influence their health.

So you can see, that there are some built environment features (sidewalks, bike routes, parks, roads, access to businesses, lighting) that can influence residents’ health in their neighborhoods.  The Portland Bureau of Transportation is looking into how some parts of the city facilitate healthier habits than others (like Julie’s neighborhood versus Mateo’s neighborhood) and how investments in some parts of the city can decrease the ‘health gap.’

The next blog will talk about processes within the City that will set our future course and attempt to even the health playing field for Aaron, Julie, and Mateo.

Read the other posts in the series



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