This HIA was a collaborative effort of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD), a research center of the Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Architecture and staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Focused on the planning process for the Atlanta Beltline—a major public transit, trails, parks and urban-redevelopment project—the HIA addressed a wide range of health issues, including opportunities for physical activity and social interconnectedness; safety; access to healthy food; and environmental issues, such as air and water quality. Some of the recommendations included: 1) making health promotion a consideration in the prioritization and timing of public funding by developing a mechanism to consider health impacts throughout the entire project; 2) appointing public health experts to decision-making bodies; 3) establishing policies and programs to prevent displacement in areas surrounding the BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD); and 4) accelerating the implementation schedule so that the much-needed health benefits of the Beltline would be realized sooner.
Due, in part, to the HIA, health has been prioritized in implementation through a Decision-Support Tool, Beltline board appointments and the mayor's commitment to construct the BeltLine ten years ahead of schedule. Acknowledging the HIA's overarching conclusion that the Beltline would offer important health benefits for Atlanta residents, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $1 million dollar grant to clean up abandoned industrial sites along the corridor and speed the development process. The city of Atlanta formed a police team to patrol the BeltLine's greenspaces and has made other efforts to improve perceived safety-all recommendations in the HIA. Read more here.