By Katherine Brown
So what makes a neighborhood unhealthy? Is it limited access to fresh produce? Is it a liquor store on every corner? Or is it the speeding cars that zip up and down MacArthur Avenue every evening?
Over the course of two days, I set out on foot around my neighborhood – the Mills College/Seminary Avenue area – to identify what could lead to poor health outcomes for folks that live, work, and play in this area.
During my walks, here are some unhealthy aspects I noticed within my neighborhood:
- Police and ambulance sirens – morning, noon, and night.
- Piles of trash lining the street.
- Cars constantly running the stop signs at the corner of Brann St. and 56th Avenue.
- Liquor stores and outlets that serve sodium-filled and greasy foods.
- Non-residents sitting in their cars in front of neighbor’s houses – some stop to smoke weed or drink Sometimes, they’re casing houses to rob.
I have lived in this community for over 20 years, and I have definitely seen many changes over time that do not aid in improving the health of my neighborhood.
For example, over the last year, there has been a rash of break-ins and robberies. In one instance, a family was at home when would-be robbers tried to kick their door in.
Fortunately, no one was physically harmed – but in speaking to the mother, and hearing her worry and concern for herself and her family, it was apparent that invisible wounds that still remain.
I love my neighborhood – it is my home – but I cannot help but worry about the health of my community.