VIDEO: Health of the Hood – What Makes the Mills College Neighborhood Unhealthy?

With the advent of speeding in my community, neighbors remind drivers to obey traffic laws. Katherine Brown - Oakland Voices 2012.
With the advent of speeding in my community, neighbors remind drivers to obey traffic laws. Photo: Katherine Brown – Oakland Voices 2012.

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.
At the Mac Arthur Boulevard and 55th Avenue intersection, numerous car accidents have occurred here. Katherine Brown – Oakland Voices 2012.

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.

An unhealthy aspect about this neighborhood is that it is not biker-friendly. There are no marked biking lanes along Mac Arthur Boulevard, near Mills College, which could be dangerous for riders and drivers. Photo: Katherine Brown – Oakland Voices 2012.
















Author Profile

Katherine Brown was born in Houston, and her family moved to Oakland when she was 6 months old. “I am fortunate to have a loving family and an amazing community of friends,” Katherine says. “I love to help others, which is fused into my life and work.” Katherine enjoys volunteering, dance, and sports, with football being her favorite.

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