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Making Neighborhoods Healthier: MAPC’s Model HIA Report

We are very happy to announce that The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and MAPC Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund (HNEF) has been recognized by the Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment (SOPHIA) as a model report.

If you haven’t heard, the HNEF is a proposed $30 million private equity fund put forth by the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation. It’s a socially responsible investment model for potential development projects that takes community, environmental, and health benefits into consideration along with financial risks and returns.

The HNEF HIA, which was led by MAPC’s Public Health team, MDPH, and CLF, examined three transit oriented development (TOD) projects in Boston: Bartlett Place, Madison Tropical Parcel 10, and Parcel 25. TOD is a type of development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail, and other amenities integrated into walkable neighborhoods that are accessible by quality public transportation. The HIA report explored the relationship between TODs and health.

Health Impact Assessment: What We Learned

The HIA used the following twelve pathways to assess the potential impacts of the TOD projects on neighborhood health. These pathways can affect health and health-related outcomes such as obesity, stress, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, injuries, and premature mortality.

The HIA focused on 12 ways that TOD can affect health. These focus areas, called pathways, can affect health outcomes and chronic conditions such as obesity, stress, mental health, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, injuries, and premature mortality.
The HIA focused on 12 ways that TOD can affect health. These focus areas, called pathways, can affect health outcomes and chronic conditions such as obesity, stress, mental health, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, injuries, and premature mortality.

The pathway diagram below shows an overview of the potential impacts and outcomes of the noted TOD projects.

We analyzed how each of these health and wellbeing pathways could be affected, positively or negatively, by a TOD, and made recommendations.
We analyzed how each of these health and wellbeing pathways could be affected, positively or negatively, by a TOD, and made recommendations.

What’s Next?

The HIA is now being used to screen project HNEF funding and evaluate the health outcomes from the funded projects. Moving forward, the report also contributes to growing research linking TOD and health.

Interested in learning more? Check out the full report or email Barry Keppard, public health manager.

Get Involved

The Public Health Division of MAPC is always looking for new ideas, initiatives, and partnerships. Right now we are seeking communities interested in municipal Health in All Policies work, School Building and Health, and Healthy Food Access. If you are interested in these focus areas or have ideas to suggest, please contact the Public Health Manager, Barry Keppard.