Access to health care. Planning for health has to go
beyond the location, arrangement, design and construction of buildings — all part of the Yesler Terrace plan
— and into programming of on-site services, said John
Forsyth, SHA’s community services administrator. SHA
has linked up with a local healthcare provider, Neighbor-care, to provide several community health workers to assist
residents with “navigating the health care system, getting
connected with primary care, actively engaging in their
care plans, and ensuring insurance coverage,” as a program brochure explains. They also provide regular health
screenings for chronic illnesses, checking blood sugar levels, blood pressure, etc. In addition, a neighborhood clinic
has been established in the adjacent elementary school.
“We also are doing an annual survey every year for five
years, asking people about their health and care needs.
At end of the survey they can ask for a visit from a community health care worker.”
Healthy eating. Yesler Terrace also will provide about an
acre of community gardening space, Forsyth said. Raising
your own food and working with others in the process
is good for physical and mental health as well as social
engagement, he added. Not only will the healthful produce be available for residents’ consumption, but they also
will have access to cooking classes to learn more about
maintaining a healthy diet that is also tasty.
“From the outset in planning Yesler, health has been a
key consideration, in all components of it, from planning
and design to construction,” said Kerry Coughlin, SHA’s
communications director. “To do that effectively, you have
to look at both the built environment — indoor and outdoor — and the programmatic environment. It was hard
at first, but it becomes a way of thinking after awhile.”
David A. Goldberg is the vice president of communications for Action for Healthy Food, a national
non-profit working to reduce the quantity of sugar
and other unhealthful substances in our food
supply, and formerly was the founding communications director for Smart Growth America. In 2002,
Mr. Goldberg was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at
Harvard University, where he studied urban policy.
From the outset in planning, health has been a key consideration.
Courtesy of Seattle Housing Authority
Photos by Alan Light
Photo by SDOT