The School of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology conducted a rapid HIA to support healthy development in North Birmingham, Alabama, through implementation of the North Birmingham Community Framework Plan. The goal of the plan, created in conjunction with the first comprehensive plan update in 50 years, is to enhance the quality of life for residents through changes to land use, new development, transportation, housing, parks, trails and open spaces, utilities, and economic development. The HIA examined potential health impacts related to employment, healthy food, health care, connectivity, and freight, which were selected as areas of focus by the HIA steering committee and North Birmingham Community Coalition with input from the HIA practitioners.
The HIA found that overall, implementing the framework plan has the potential to improve health in North Birmingham. The final HIA report made recommendations to maximize health benefits, including incorporating economic development and labor force policies into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, offering day care options for North Birmingham Community Residents, expanding the current fresh produce food truck program to all of North Birmingham, and establishing a local health care facility to serve the medical needs of the community. To increase connectivity, the HIA recommended reviewing transit routes throughout North Birmingham and redirecting routes to create an integrated transit system that will provide greater access to important locations inside and outside of the neighborhood. The HIA also suggested traffic calming at key intersections and along roadways with high incidences of car, pedestrian, or bicycle injuries and completing the Finley Boulevard Extension Plan and Shuttlesworth Bridge Pedestrian Flyover.
This project was funded by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.