Our ENV HLT 208 Built Environment and Health course students final projects have ranged from developing recommendations for the LA River, unincorporated LA County communities, Food Gardens, Street Vending and more. Below is one of the memos that took the built environment and health into consideration when recommending the legalization of street vending.
Latino Urbanism and Street Vending in LA: Potential Impacts for Health: Diana Benitez, Ana Bonilla, and Rodolfo Avila-Rodriguez
Radio Perspective – “So what would you like to do for this patient?”
The patient was a quiet, but friendly woman in her 50’s. She was an overweight diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. She was also divorced, unemployed, and had a high school education. This was the summer before my second year of medical school, and I was shadowing a family physician in his clinic in rural Oregon. The answer that he was looking for was to find out why the patient was not taking her medications, and to encourage her to do take her med’s. The answer that I instinctively wanted to give was to encourage to get more exercise, and eat a healthier diet. It would address help with all of her medical conditions simultaneously, and avoid the cost and side effects of the medications.
I would drop out of medical school at the end of that year, for a host of reason. But since then, I learned that there’s a growing awareness within the public health and urban planning communities that we can design cities for people’s health. There’s an element of personal responsibility for lifestyle choices, but we can also make the healthy choice the easy choice, or even better, the default choice.
Wouldn’t you be more likely to walk or bike for short trips if the route were safe and convenient? What if it were a beautiful tree lined path along the river and away from cars? Wouldn’t you be more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if there were fresh, affordable, and available at your local grocery store or farmer’s market? I hope that you have these options in the community where you live, or at least there are people working to make these choices available.
With a perspective, this is Jeff Loi. Hope to see you on the bike path or farmer’s market.
Radio perspective – Insomnia in the City
Oh this is not working! Whoever said that counting sheep would help you go to sleep was probably out there herding cattle and literally counted so many sheep that they would fall dead asleep soon after getting home for the day. I bet that they didn’t have homework to work on or worry about having enough time to get a work out in because the food they ate was fresh and healthier than the food we eat today. It is now 3:22 and I need to be up by 7:00 if I want to have enough time to go for a job before my meeting at 10. If I fall asleep right now, 3:23, I will get 3 hours and 37 minutes of sleep. What good is a run if I can’t even get my full 8 hours? If I take a 15-minute shower, and the bus gets there on time, maybe I can get up at 7:30, to get a full four hours. Four hours doesn’t sound so bad, But if I skip the run I can get an extra hour. Maybe I can run tomorrow evening instead. If I can rush home after class and leave my clothes ready, I can be on my way before it gets dark! That sounds like a plan. Okay, I need to fall asleep it is 3:29 now…
This is a perspective from Ana Tapia
Our Co-chairs Ana and Jeff wrote an article for the UCLA Critical Planning Journal Volume 22: Cities and Regions in Crisis (Fall 2015) discussing the importance of health equity, and our organization.