This comprehensive policy report from PolicyLink details why both place and race are important factors in the health and well-being of individuals and communities. The idea that place matters has percolated up from the ground, gaining currency in public health, research, government, and policy circles. Health and equity issues are increasingly taken into account in decisions and investments shaping the future of neighborhoods, cities, rural communities, and regions.
This report builds on earlier work to look more intentionally and explicitly at race and ethnicity and what they mean in the context of building healthy communities. Research and conversations with people working in the field have reaffirmed that place matters. By the same token, race matters—a lot. Race is an overarching consideration that affects where and how we all live. Race continues to fracture our society, compounding disadvantage and perpetuating it across generations. The structures of racism—many of them rooted in discriminatory policies and practices of earlier eras—pose perhaps the most intractable barriers to equitable opportunity and a healthy, prosperous future. The report provides analysis and examples of how to improve economic, social, physical, and service environments through race-conscious strategies.
It concludes with the following recommendations:
- Establish strategic place targets
- Increase the power of people of color and immigrants
- Enforce laws that prohibit discrimination
- Shift public perceptions
- Engage strongly with vulnerable communities
- Target policies that disproportionately hurt people of color
The report was funded by The California Endowment.
The report also is available in Spanish.