A health impact assessment (HIA) is a planning tool that helps evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project or policy before it is adopted, built or implemented. HIAs bring potential public health impacts and considerations to the decision-making process for proposals that fall outside the traditional public health arenas, such as transportation and land use. It is a “health lens” that can increase positive health outcomes and minimize adverse health impacts.
HIAs are being used to help Denver’s policymakers make informed choices to improve public health through community design and development.
In 2014, the Denver City Council prioritized HIAs for all new neighborhood plans. Denver has conducted or supported HIAs in several neighborhoods.
The Westwood Neighborhood is primarily residential, with commercial corridors along Morrison Rd., Alameda Ave and Federal Blvd.
Today, Westwood’s population of over 15,000 is 80 percent Hispanic in origin, with about 20percent speaking only Spanish. Westwood is unique in that it is one of the youngest neighborhoods in Denver, with 40 percent of its residents aged 18 and younger. Most children attend the neighborhood schools, including three elementaries and one middle school.
However, the neighborhood is underserved for parks, recreation amenities, and green space; it lacks a grocery store; and it has an auto-oriented street design with narrow or missing sidewalks. These deficits in the built environment pose challenges for residents who want to choose healthy lifestyles, including physical activity, exercise and good nutrition. However, Westwood has some unique assets in place to overcome these barriers in the near future, including a number of active community organizations, engaged residents, and the resources of the Urban Land Institute as one of the recipients of a multi-million dollar Healthy Places Initiative to design a healthier, active environment
Other Westwood HIA resources:
View the Westwood Neighborhood Plan
Globeville & Elyria Swansea are two of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, settled in the 1880s around metals smelting and railroad yards. The construction of Interstates 70 and 25 in the 1960s cut through the neighborhoods, isolating them from each other and other parts of Denver. Air, noise and odor pollution from the highways, railroads and heavy industry has created physical challenges to residents’ everyday health. Other barriers to good health include lack of a grocery store for over 10,000 residents and poor quality sidewalks, bike lanes and access to recreation.
Today the neighborhoods are predominantly Hispanic and possess a strong cultural identity centered on family and community. Residents have identified their top priority as a built environment that supports their goal of healthy lifestyles and opportunities, especially for children and youth.
The report is also available by sections:
List of Appendices:
The South Lincoln neighborhood is located southwest of downtown Denver and is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver, dating back to 1900. Along with many single family homes, there are two major housing developments including the South Lincoln Homes, 270 public housing units owned by the Denver Housing Authority (DHA). DHA desired to revitalize the 50-year old community by connecting it to a new light rail station nearby and improving safety, access to recreation and physical activity, and social cohesion.
View the South Lincoln Redevelopment Plan.