Community Health Impact Assessment of Transit-Oriented Development

Posted by on January 08, 2012

A new report released by PolicyLink, ISAIAH, and TakeAction Minnesota takes a deep look at the benefits and challenges that low-income communities and communities of color face when light rail comes to their communities, and ties these benefits and challenges to people’s health.

The report, Healthy Corridor for All:  A Community Health Impact Assessment of Transit-Oriented Development Policy in Saint Paul, Minnesota, (link contains both summary and extended technical report) reveals stark obstacles such as high unemployment, large housing-cost burdens, and a speculative market faced by residents in the Central Corridor of St. Paul; yet it also provides policy recommendations to support equitable development, so that low-income people and communities of color will not be left behind as new opportunities enter their communities.

The new $1 billion light rail line that’s being constructed will run through some of the region’s most racially diverse and economically disadvantaged communities, connecting the downtown of Minneapolis with the downtown of St. Paul. The community-driven Healthy Corridor for All shows that the new transit-oriented land use policies may not, in fact, bring in industries that could employ the many residents with lower educational attainment, while potentially gentrifying neighborhoods and possibly leading to displacement.

However, engaged residents remain cautiously hopeful and ever vigilant.

“The Twin Cities has a choice to make.  There is an opportunity before us to re-imagine Minnesota’s growing diversity as a tremendous asset,” said Doran Schrantz, Executive Director of ISAIAH. “The key is to prepare for a prosperous economic future by investing deeply in equity. Together, we can make the Central Corridor a shining example of equitable transit-oriented development.”

Healthy Corridor for All is funded by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, as well as support from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Health Impact Project, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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