Urban Planning for Public Health in California’s San Joaquin Valley

The American Lung Association is making an “urban planning push” in three San Joaquin Valley counties, according to a recent article in Associations Now. The idea behind the efforts to reduce public health risks: promote walkable communities.
April 17, 2014, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The American Lung Association is making the connections between urban-planning and public health in California’s San Joaquin Valley, according to a recent article by Ernie Smith.

“See, the region, which includes the cities of Fresno and Bakersfield, has some of the worst air-quality problems in the country, and according to a new series of reports from the association, efforts to create more walkable community areas could help save hundreds of millions of dollars in health costs over the next two decades by cutting down on air pollution and promoting healthier lifestyles. In other words: Fewer cars, more walking and public transit," writes Smith.

To make the case for a new planning paradigm in the mostly agrarian, sometimes historic, and frequently sprawling exurban communities of the San Joaquin Valley, the American Lung Association recently released the “Public health Crossroads” reports focusing on the counties of Kern, Fresno, and San Joaquin.  Amonthe recommendations of the reports, that the counties actively pursue strategies recommended (and required) by California’s SB 375 smart growth law.

The reports estimate the following benefits to their recommendations:

  • A savings of at least $415 million in health-related costs by 2035 across the San Joaquin Valley
  • A decrease of 2,490 lost work days between Kern, Fresno, and San Joaquin counties
  • A drop in asthma attacks and other respiratory health impacts by 14,499 across the three counties.
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Published on Monday, March 24, 2014 in Associations Now
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