Designing Healthy Communities: Lawrence
Zoning & Public Health
Zoning Reform to Inspire Healthy Living
Heather McMann, Groundwork Lawrence
Groundwork Lawrence
• For people - creating opportunities for
people to learn new skills and take local
action
• For places - creating better, safer and
healthier neighborhoods
• For prosperity - helping business and
individuals fulfill their potential
Lawrence in 1850
Lawrence Now
Statistics
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One of the poorest & most heavily Latino cities in NE
Population 76,000 in 7 square miles
25%+ of families below poverty line
Low Homeownership & High Unemployment Rates
High rates of foreclosure
37% of residents hold HS degree
Young population (~30% under age 24)
Diet & lifestyle-related disease rates soaring
Highest rates of youth obesity in MA
Food Desert:
• 1 Grocery Store, 100+ Corner Stores
• Fast Food Restaurants
Healthy Food Access
Dr. Nina Scarito Park
• 1850s - Small mill built on the site,
including several raceways running
through the property
• 1940s: - Site redeveloped into a
commercial laundry
• Late 1980s - Laundry buildings
demolished, leaving the site vacant
• 2001 - Neighborhood Summit
identified site for a neighborhood park
• 2006 - Completed remediation &
construction, funding from EPA
Brownfields, MA EOEEA, City of
Lawrence & Bank of America
Dr. Nina Scarito Park
Manchester Street Park
• Former incinerator
• 1990s - Community succeeded in closing
the incinerator
• 2006 - Envisioned as a park
• 2009 – Ribbon-cutting ceremony
• 2010 & 2011 – 2 National Awards
Manchester Street Park
Spruce St. Vacant Lots
Spruce St. Community Garden
The Spicket River Greenway
Walkable Communities and Health
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Walking is beneficial to people's health, to community
vitality, and for the environment.
 Improves community interaction as people are more
likely to talk with neighbors and shop in local stores
when they are walking through a community.
 Provides easy, inexpensive and low-impact exercise
that can improve the overall health of community
residents.
 Walking instead of driving protects environmental
quality. Reducing vehicular emissions benefits plants,
watersheds and the health of wildlife and people alike.
Walkable Communities and
Economic Benefits
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Housing Values are Higher
Attract "New Economy" Workers
Are becoming a Business Relocation Alternative
Reduce Commuting Costs
Cost the Taxpayer Less
Attracts Tourists
Can Capture an Emerging "Lifestyle" Retail Market
Source: http://www.uwex.edu/ces/cced/downtowns/ltb/lets/0703ltb.html
Lesson learned: Challenges are Opportunities
Challenges
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No Master Plan
Brownfields/Vacant lots
Illegal dumping
Flooding
Public Perception
Limited Access to Healthy Food
Limited Regional Cooperation
Opportunities
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Open Space Plan
Dense, Walkable City
Mixed-Use Neighborhoods
Active Transportation
Open Spaces for Recreation & Exercise
Improved Environment (air, water, soil)
Connecting Public Health, Zoning
& Community Development
Heather McMann, Groundwork Lawrence
www.groundworklawrence.org
[email protected]
(978) 974-0770 x7009
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Designing Healthy Communities: Lawrence Zoning and Public Health