The health of the citizens of a community is determined not only by the access to healthy food options, outdoor spaces and clean water; but also by physical safety and economic opportunity as well as the mental and emotional support that a community can provide.
Farmers markets are a great way to introduce fresh produce and meats into communities as well as support and grow local businesses and vendors. Baltimore City has multiple markets that operate on various days of the week, with the largest two operating on the weekends. Integrating this model into Jonestown to move away from convenience stores will help form relationships and bonds that transcend the abilities of a grocery store to build a community.
For the theme of Healthy people I utilized features of a previous map that I created to start my analysis. This feature was the vacant lot layer, the community as a whole and community members cannot be healthy with vacant properties for many reasons. First is the potential for crime and the mental toll that abandoned and vacant properties takes on the community. Second is that these areas can become areas for litter, dumping, stagnant water, drug use, and rodents. I mapped the grocery stores and as has been noted, the neighborhood itself is a food desert, although there is a Whole Foods in Harbor East.
The next layer that I chose was the parks, as you can see there is only one listed park in the neighborhood, McKim park and it is not the ideal park but it does give some access to activity. A refurbishment of the park and a commitment to making it safe for kids and families would help the Neighborhood. Spiritual health in the neighborhood was somewhat lacking with only one Church (multi-colored circle) within the boundaries although several surround it. The crime index shows that there are no high number areas of crime in the neighborhood, but there are some in surrounding areas. Finally I mapped the K-12 schools in the neighborhood and there were none. This was disconcerting because it makes it harder for the residents of the neighborhood to have access to afterschool programs and have their children have access to school nutrition.
How can we make a Difference?
One of the ways that we can create communities that have financial help is by training people for the jobs that are available. As we see here in this graph from the St. Louis Fed, One of the sectors that has grown, even through the recessions in 2001 and 2008-2009 is Healthcare. Part of the drive for skills based education, must come in the field of healthcare. With hospital systems as one of the engines of the Baltimore economy, educating local residents to be able to be medical professionals is a way to help bring economic health to Jonestown.