City Planners Increasingly Connect Public Health Problems in their Planning
Standing on the edge of the Anacostia River, with the disused piers of the old 11th Street Bridge in front of him, Scott Kratz says he doesn’t yet know what the four design teams will propose for a new urban park on the site. The finalists have until September to submit drawings for the competition. But one thing is certain: The winning team will address public health issues as one of the central features of the park, which will reuse the old bridge piers to span the river and connect neighborhoods that have vastly different economic, demographic and health profiles.
Communities east of the river have the highest incidence of obesity in the District, and higher rates of Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, says Kratz, who is leading the $35 million private initiative. Unlike those on the largely gentrified west side of the river, Anacostia residents lack easy access to fresh food, supermarkets and green space. The bridge park is inspired by the enormously successful High Line Park in New York and the Atlanta BeltLine park system, which reuse obsolete urban infrastructure to create “linear parks” with significant public health benefits.
Read more in The Washington Post