Designing Sustainable and Healthy Communities
This report summarizes the outcomes from a community meeting entitled “Designing Sustainable and Healthy Communities” co-hosted by Supervisor Jane Parker and Sustainable Seaside on August 2, 2012 from 5:30-8:00 PM at the Chartwell School in Seaside. This report will be posted online at www.janeparker.org
This Community Meeting brought together over 40 people to hear from local experts on different aspects of sustainable and healthy communities from different County departments and other local organizations. Attendees also had an opportunity to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas about sustainability and health. Supervisor Parker and her staff will be seeking opportunities to implement the many good ideas which were generated by this event.
TOUR OF CHARTWELL SCHOOL
The meeting began with a tour of Chartwell School and a talk by Douglas Atkins, Executive Director, about the green design features, cost-savings, and financing involved in its construction and operation. As a result of careful planning and high-efficiency attributes, the building was cheaper to build and continues to be less expensive to run than conventional school buildings.
Afterward, Supervisor Parker introduced the rest of the speakers and they spoke for ten to fifteen minutes each:
o Dr. Krista Hanni, a Program Manager, Monterey County Health Department, spoke about the Health in All Policies Initiative, which strives to include health considerations in all county policies, including planning and community design. She pointed to the unintended health benefits of air pollution control, and described other ways in which health can be affected by policies such as those in the Monterey County General Plan that dictate how easy it will be to walk in a community.
o Larry Imwalle, the Executive Director of the ACTION Council for Monterey County discussed The Built Environment and Childhood Obesity, and some of the findings of a study produced by the ACTION Council. Some of factors contributing to childhood obesity in Monterey County are proximity to parks and playgrounds and lack access to healthy food.
There were a range of concerns expressed by the audience, including why, even though the information about sustainability is available, it is not being put to use by developers on projects in Monterey County.
The following questions were asked in a survey to meeting attendees.
What do you feel are the most significant challenges to designing sustainable and healthy communities in Monterey County?
“Getting City leaders to shift from the mindset of ‘“Build, Baby Build”’ to Sustainable, quality of life, SMART development/growth.”
“Health Care Issues”
“Overcoming the false notion that such strategies are not economically wise.”
“Transportation – more emphasis on walkable/bikeable.
Planning – mixed use, distribution of shopping, eating, leisure.”
“Lack of collaboration/consensus building, lack of regional collaboration between tri-county departments.”
“Preserving open space and water conservation.”
Did you learning anything new about what the County or other Community groups are doing to ensure that Monterey County communities are sustainable and healthy?
“I was pleased to learn about the County has a Health [in All Policies] Initiative”
“Yes. Green Building Ordinance and what AMBAG is working on.”
“That AMBAG and the County are being proactive in addressing climate change and GHG reductions.”
“Implementation…How do we get our local real estate agents to realize that green is not surplus value, it establishes value? How to educate the unlikely first line?”
“Low-cost, high impact, regional, solar-powered rail system instead of widening highways.”
“Grey water rather than desalinization.”
“Restoration of City Parks.”
“More frequent and smaller buses instead of the larger, empty buses that are wasteful.”
Communities for Monterey County
“Making our communities more walk-able, bicycle-friendly, family safe. Making use of local resources as much as possible.”
“Annual Sustainability Tours to help more people visualize the possibilities.”
Save the Whales: www.savethewhales.org
Fort Ord Environmental Justice Network: www.foejn.org
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