Globe residents will soon have a more active voice in shaping their community – literally.
Pinnacle Prevention, an Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to growing healthy families and communities, is in the early stages of a program that will connect, convene, and collaborate with community members to co-plan and co-design improvements to Globe’s built environment.
Since Globe was founded in 1875, well before the onset of intentional healthy community design, the city’s design may be in part responsible for the high rates of heart disease and lower than average lifespans.
By addressing these issues, residents can enjoy healthier lives.
The Arizona Department of Health Services highlights the importance of the ‘built environment’ in their Arizona Health Improvement Plan: “The neighborhoods in which we live and how they are designed impacts everything from life expectancy to injuries to obesity rates and chronic disease. The layouts of cities and towns contribute to mobility and public safety… The proximity of necessities to homes influences walkability and accessibility of critical resources like healthy food and healthcare providers… Consequently, each aspect of the built environment, and the plans and policies that have constructed it, influence health outcomes.”
As the impacts of community design become more clear, governments and other organizations have worked together across the country and the state to factor the health and safety of people into the planning, design and construction of walking, bicycling, and recreation facilities. Yet most of those studies have been focused on large urban areas. So, while those conclusions might work for Phoenix, Globe’s unique characteristics would require its own analysis.
Pinnacle Prevention (PP) received $175,000 from Vitalyst Health Foundation to increase infrastructure investments for opportunities to improve health through parks and recreation, transportation, and overall community design in rural and tribal communities across the state.
“What we’re trying to do is increase access to resources, infrastructure, and funding out in those communities and also implement an actual showcase of what can be done in rural communities that is unique to their culture and their history,” says Adrienne Udarbe, executive director at PP.
The Pinnacle Prevention team has been careful not to define their goal in any certain community.
Udarbe points out that it will be the residents guiding the infrastructure improvements. It will be up to Globe residents to raise their voices and be heard regarding the changes they want to see in their community, be it more, wider sidewalks; shared-use paths for bicyclists and pedestrians; improving off-street trail networks; or preserving natural areas.
“Part of this process over the three-year project will be to go out and engage the community and help to empower them so that your everyday community members -- not just those that are actively engaged in their civic roles as citizens -- feel like they have a voice and a say in what’s happening and what’s being done.”
“So rather than us coming in and saying, ‘oh do this’ or ‘this is the best practice’, they will inform that effort and they will also be part of the co-design moving forward. And if what comes up is they say ‘we require advocacy’ or ‘infrastructure support’ or whatever that is, our role will be to connect them to those pieces of the puzzle that they need to be able to make it happen.”
While PP’s work will eventually expand to reach more non-urban communities across the state, the work will begin in Globe.
Initial steps are focused on opening a dialogue with community members to identify community needs and assets, and ultimately identify an initial project. To learn more visit pinnacleprevention.org, or send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.