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FIGHT TO END BLIGHT: Evidence-Based Support to Minimize Urban Decay in Historic Overtown, Miami

Laurent Saint-Louis, BS; Mohammed Alawad, MD; Cari Eckman, BS; Arthur de Oliviera Correa, MSc; Sharleen Traynor , MPH; BreAnne Young, BS INTRODUCTION • One effect of environmental racism in communities of color is the increased amount of urban blight. • Based on the “Broken Window” theory urban blight can lead to increased crime and poor health. • Greening of vacant lots is a proven method of mitigating the effects of urban blight.

SITE BACKGROUND • In the 1960s, Overtown was among the largest Black settlements, thriving culturally and economically. • Turnover in the resident population, expressway construction and a failed urban renewal project fractured the community and took a toll on health, economy and security. Demographics • 62% are Black • 29% finished high school • 28% are unemployed • 51% live below Federal Poverty limit • 53.5% of men report some degree of disability due to mental health • 40.3% of men have used illegal drugs or substances • 65.9% of men have been incarcerated

Miami-Dade Open GIS Data, 2015

OBJECTIVE

Government Housing

Through the greening of vacant lots this intervention aims to reduce crime and improve health outcomes in Overtown.

0

0.3 mi

Multi-Family, High-Density

Multi-Family, Low-Density

EVIDENCE

Townhouses

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society • Entailed removing trash and debris, grading the land, planting grass and trees, and building fences. • Resulted in consistend reduction in gun violence; participants reported less stress and more exercise. The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation • The 2010 Lots of Green Program • The stabilization treatment and the community reuse treatment which resulted in the reduction of burglaries and violent crimes.

Duplexes

Single Family

Parks

Vacant, Government

Vacant, Private

COURSES OF ACTION

DISCUSSION

Methods: • Randomize vacant lot selection based on the “Lots of Green” Program: 1. Stabilization Treatment: removal of debris; planting trees; lot maintenance 2. Community Reuse Treatment: creating community gardens/ athletic fields through increased community engagement 3. Control • Administer annual self-reported perceived health and safety surveys • Collect annual crime rates from Miami-Dade Police Department

Challenges in Implementation: • History of neighborhood discrimination and neglect • Institutionalized racism in Overtown and lack of political power of residents • Potential for continued gentrification of neighborhood

Expected Outcomes: • Reduced crime rates • Higher perceived safety • Higher physical activity & lower obesity rates • Improved cardiovascular and respiratory health

Challenges in Drawing Causal Inference: • Possibility of confounders that have not been controlled for • Changes in external influences may occur (ex. police presence, increased • access to healthcare) • Results may not be generalizable to other communities • Mediators may exist that have not been considered

Fight to End Blight  

Based on other similar interventions, this evidence-based proposal suggested how the greening of vacant lots led by residents of Overtown ma...

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