Equity, Sustainability and Resilience

Environmental Justice and Equitable Reinvestment

Impact Maps and Community Priorities Spur National Reinvestment Funding – Jacksonville, Florida

Situation

Health Zone 1 in Jacksonville, Florida, faces significant economic and environmental challenges. The area’s median income is half that of surrounding communities. Residents have high rates of diabetes, asthma and heart disease. A history of industry and neglect has led to significant contamination and pollution in the area. Seven Superfund sites are located in Health Zone 1.

Solution

Skeo facilitated a community planning process focused on building local capacities to address local economic, public health and environmental justice concerns. The community first identified its priorities – access to affordable health care, healthy food and safe recreation opportunities. During the shared learning phase, the project team used GIS analysis to develop “heat maps” of cumulative risk to identify neighborhoods in most need. Participants then formed work groups and built a sustainable coalition to advance and support project goals.

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Outcomes

This community-based effort is a national model for EPA’s commitments to environmental justice, public health and sustainable development. Today, partners are working together to implement a range of strategies, including planning for a community health center, grant-funded opportunities for area youth to work in local parks, plans to link neighborhood greenways, development of a community market, healthy food initiatives and construction of affordable housing. As a result of this process, Groundwork USA funded a local chapter in Jacksonville to improve greenway access and residents were invited to serve on a project steering committee to help guide millions of dollars in Health Zone 1 investments.

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“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt