Two new ULI profiles of affordable and mixed-income housing developments highlight how health-promoting features, such as community clinics, pedestrian-friendly design, community gardens, and nutrition and cooking classes, are improving resident health outcomes.
The profiles of High Point and Mariposa, two mixed-income redevelopment projects in Seattle and Denver, are featured on the Building Healthy Places Toolkit website, which outlines opportunities to enhance health through changes in approaches to buildings and projects.
High Point is a 129-acre (52 ha) mixed-income redevelopment project in Seattle focused on resident well-being and an enhanced quality of life in the surrounding area. Health-promoting features at High Point include a community clinic, pedestrian-friendly design, and homes designed to reduce the risk and severity of asthma.
Targeted investments in improved public health outcomes at High Point have already shown success, says George Nemeth, senior housing developer at the Seattle Housing Authority, the agency responsible for High Point’s development. “A modest investment into the construction and design of our Breathe Easy homes—just under $6,000 per unit, or a 5 percent or less incremental cost—resulted in a two-thirds decrease in the number of days missed from school or work, fewer visits to emergency rooms, and improved health outcomes across the board,” he says.
Mariposa, a mixed-income redevelopment project, is transforming a once-distressed public housing complex into a neighborhood that prioritizes affordability, active transportation, cultural diversity, and healthy living.
Developed by the Denver Housing Authority (DHA), Mariposa is planned to include 800 affordable and market-rate residential units at completion; 457 units had been built as of early 2017. Health-focused amenities include community gardens, nutrition and cooking classes, and an active staircase.
“Through dedicated community engagement and tailoring design elements with educational programming to reflect community needs, Mariposa has made healthy living a norm,” says Khanh Nguyen, portfolio director at the Colorado Health Foundation, a project partner and funder. “Given their thoughtful and successful approach, they have become a leader in healthy and creative design. We are proud to have partnered with them early in the process and delighted to see that community thrive.”
Additional information can be found on the ULI Building Healthy Places Toolkit website. The Toolkit provides 21 evidence-based recommendations that are supported by action-oriented best practice strategies. The report also includes seven schematics that illustrate how the recommendations can be applied across real estate product sectors.
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ULI is grateful to the Colorado Health Foundation for its support of this project and the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative.