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Mapping Los Angeles's Crazy Uneven Access to Healthy Living

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[Images via Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles]

Los Angeles's recently-released draft Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles outlines six new goals (more like areas of focus) for creating a healthier city. Building on the work of last summer's depressing Health Atlas (which found that residents in Bel Air live on average nearly 12 years longer than residents in Watts), the plan zooms in on improving Angelenos' health in the traditional sense (access to "health-promoting goods and services"), but also takes into account the roles of safe neighborhoods and reduced pollution (like getting lead and toxins out of neighborhoods' air/water/ground) in overall wellness. The plan also calls for more equitable citywide access to park space (LA River revitalization is name-dropped), healthy food, and education. The plan pooh-poohs anyone who'd like to believe it's just decontextualized individual choices that make people unhealthy: "[F]or many people, particularly for those with limited financial resources, a healthy lifestyle is not simply a matter of choice, but is fundamentally a matter of access and opportunity." Shocking!

A few of the many objectives for the plan (the following are direct quotations):
-- Increase the number of open spaces and parks that are refurbished to incorporate amenities that promote active recreation and physical activity in the low-income neighborhoods that are most underserved in access to spaces for physical activity and recreation.
-- Increase the miles of the Los Angeles River that are revitalized for natural open space and physical activity, prioritize implementation in close proximity to park-deficient neighborhoods.
-- Reduce the number of major sources of airborne toxics that are adjacent to community services and facilities in the communities most impacted by major sources of airborne toxics.
-- Increase the number of brownfields [potentially contaminated land] that are remediated in the low-income communities with the highest prevalence of brownfield sites.

To see just how far the city has to go in helping provide access to affordable housing, park access, and more, do check out the interactive maps on the plan's site.
· Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles [Official site]
· Watts Residents Will Die 11.9 Years Before Bel Air Residents [Curbed LA]