Monday, January 4, 2010

Life & Death: Where you live matters

A wonderful series of articles recently published in the Contra Costa Times in December 2009 examined the place-based determinants of life and death in the East Bay area of California. Find the series here:

What was the conclusion of zip-code level health, death, environmental and demographic data? Not surprisingly to many of us...where you live matters for your degree of suffering and length of life.  Residents of poor East Oakland die, on average, 16 years before residents of wealthier neighborhoods in the Oakland Hills.  These findings are almost identical to the groundbreaking report, Life and Death from Unnatural Causes: Health and Social Inequality in Alameda County.

Importantly, these articles also document that community organizations, Contra Costa Health Services, the California Endowment and others are using a host of strategies to reverse these glaring and disturbing health inequities.  Unfortunately, the articles fail to explore the role of urban planning and community development in shaping life chances for urban residents.  More on this and the specific activities in Richmond, CA soon.

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