Rebuilding Healthy Neighborhoods for Children and Families in NEO

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 07/10/2006 - 09:55.

If you have the opportunity to rebuild your city from scratch, what will be your priorities - what are the priorities of your neighborhood and neighbors? Well, in New Orleans they don't have any choice about rebuilding their city, so a diverse collaboration of planners and community leaders are using sophisticated tools and methods to make certain their neighborhoods of the future are as desirable and successful as possible... read the report summary and link in below. Note, while this is part of multi-Gulf-State regional planning, which must focus on the big picture, the study here looks are resident preferences by neighborhood and even ethnicity, so it is very granular at the microeconomic level in NOLA, and so entirely applicable to NEO. I strongly believe doing the same exercise here would offer immense value, not just in Cleveland but in every neighborhood of the region... just take the exact same method and tools as used in NOLA, work with the same team at Tulane on analyses, and we'll quickly have some real micro-community development benchmarks and targets for rebuilding our region, with concensus, from the ground up

Residents rank low crime, good street lighting as rebuilding priorities.

Low crime, good street lighting, absence of litter, walkable sidewalks/crosswalks, neighborhood grocery stores, playgrounds, affordable housing and good schools are the top priorities of New Orleans residents as they rebuild or decide whether to rebuild in the post-Katrina world, according to a survey released this week by The Prevention Research Center at Tulane University. "Low crime is a priority across the city," says Tom Farley, director of the center and chair of the department of community health sciences at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. "Crime can be prevented with smart environmental planning, such as well-lit streets. We hope this data will result in rebuilding plans that address concerns about crime and safety."

Researchers asked 1,073 New Orleanians who have returned, plan to return or are still undecided about returning to rate the importance of 24 neighborhood characteristics. The report includes the top ten priorities for each of the planning districts established by the city planning commission.

According to Farley, responses varied a bit by district. For example, residents of the Lower 9th Ward (district 8) were more likely to rate the presence of neighborhood health clinics as very important.

The report is available at:

Madeline Vann - Phone: 504-247-1425 - mvann [at] tulane [dot] edu


Rebuilding Healthy Neighborhoods for Children and Families in New Orleans

his project, funded by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, focuses on the opportunity to rebuild flood-damaged neighborhoods in ways that promote health for families and children.  The first activity in this project will have members of the team working with city planning committees to educate them about "healthy neighborhood" ideas and advocate for inclusion of these concepts in city and state plans.  The team has completed a survey of residents about their priorities for rebuilt neighborhoods, including both neighborhood quality survey questions (e.g., safety, compactness, diversity, convenience to transit, etc.) and neighborhood feature survey questions (e.g., sidewalks, bike paths, grocery stores, lack of liquor stores, billboards, etc.).  The results of the survey hve been summarized in a report presented to the planning bodies.  The project team will also organize meetings between residents from at least one heavily affected neighborhood and City Council members to discuss the residents' priorities for rebuilding. 

The Prevention Research Center created this brochure to show what a healthy New Orleans could look like.

The survey results show both the city-wide responses and priorities broken down by neighborhood planning district.

Tulane New Wave Article about PRC rebuilding efforts

Resources for rebuilding healthy neighborhoods


Prevention Research Center at Tulane University
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
1440 Canal Street, Suite 2300, New Orleans, LA 70112History

The Prevention Research Center at Tulane University has been actively involved in New Orleans health issues since 1998.  DPRC efforts seek lasting community changes. uring its original funding cycle, the center focused research on a variety of environmental issues, most significantly reducing childhood lead exposure.  That research lead to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, which resulted in important changes in public policy.  Adolescent asthma and mercury exposure were also among the environmental issues addressed as a part of the initial funding cycle.

In 2004, the PRC was funded for a new 5-year grant cycle through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  For this grant cycle, however, the PRC turned its focus toward the epidemic of obesity, which affect the entire population, but disproportionately affects low-income residents to a higher degree.  Our investigators continue to employ creative, community-based, participatory research techniques to create a healthier physical and social environment for New Orleans residents, especially in light of our changed environment.