Four strategic opportunities to support healthy, equitable land use in Los Angeles and beyond
We have opportunities to re-envision our land use system to produce healthy, equitable outcomes for all communities. That’s why the Healthy, Equitable, Active Land Use (HEALU) Network developed Strategic Opportunities to Create a Healthy, Equitable Land Use System in Los Angeles, a new policy brief that outlines a menu of strategies to produce health equity through the land use system.
Land use policies and practices shape health, safety, and equity from the ground up, determining access to health-promoting resources like affordable housing, transit options, parks and open spaces, schools, workplaces, healthy food retail, and more. But all communities haven’t been designed and treated equally. Too often, land use practices -- both past and present -- generate and reinforce health inequities. Low-income communities of color, in particular, face barriers to health in the very ways that their neighborhoods are invested in and land use decisions are made.
Given its size, diversity, and history of inequitable land use policies and practices, Los Angeles is an ideal testing ground for learning and innovation around land use. The brief identifies four key strategies for creating a healthier and more equitable land use system in Los Angeles:
• Increase the percentage of public funds invested in health-promoting infrastructure in low-income communities of color.
• Build capacity in government, the private sector, and community-based organizations for robust community engagement in land use planning and policymaking.
• Accelerate land use innovations and demonstration projects in low-income communities of color, and scale up successful pilot projects to drive policy change.
• Foster cross-government collaboration to embed health and equity in all land use decisions.
The challenges and opportunities around land use that Los Angeles faces are shared by communities across the country, and the strategies outlined in this brief can be applied far beyond LA.
For more information, please contact Prevention Institute’s Rachel Bennett at RachelB-at-preventioninstitute.org.