The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), conducted an HIA of three transit-oriented development projects—Mission Hill/Parcel 25, Bartlett Place/Nuestra Comunidad, and Madison Park/Tropical Foods—in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The HIA informed the projects’ development process and helped define the health metrics to be included in the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund, a proposed $30 million private equity reserve to support healthier communities by funding transit-oriented projects.
The HIA explored potential health impacts in several areas, including safety, economic opportunity, green space, air quality, and access to healthy, affordable food. The HIA found that all three projects would have an overall positive effect and made recommendations to mitigate any possible negative impacts from changes to air quality and traffic safety.
The HIA recommended analyses during and after construction to ensure that air quality levels do not degrade beyond projected levels; that “diesel retrofit” is used in construction equipment to reduce air pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide; and that a Complete Streets approach to roadway design is applied to safely accommodate cyclists, pedestrians, public transit users, and cars.
The team used 12 health determinants, based on the pathways in the HIA, to recommend health metrics to use when deciding which projects to support through the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund. The metrics focus on data sources that are public, accessible, and available at the neighborhood level anywhere in the state of Massachusetts.
This HIA was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Community Design Initiative.