Health Impact Assessments (HIAs)
The purpose of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is to provide decision-makers with better information about how choices they are considering will likely affect health outcomes.¬† HIAs bring together scientific evidence, health expertise, and stakeholder input so they can all be factored into the decision-making process.¬† More information about this process is available here.
Recently Completed HIAs in Omaha/Douglas County
We recently finished two HIAs -- Crossroads Redevelopment Area and Cole Creek -- with our local¬†partners. ¬†These HIAs focused on the health implications of: 1) the redevelopment of a dying mall and the surrounding district and 2) uses for vacant lots created by a flood buyout program. ¬†
Crossroads Redevelopment Area
Crossroads Mall sits at one of the busiest intersections in Omaha; yet, it is 70% vacant.¬† Slated for redevelopment by a new owner, the City of Omaha has approved the Crossroads Area Redevelopment Plan, which puts forth a vision of a pedestrian-friendly district that would include the mall site and the surrounding area.
Following a meeting to get nearby neighborhood residents' input, DCHD studied the health effects of different approaches to street design, greenspace, and parking.¬† A Neighborhood Wish List and Visual Preference Report were created during the meeting with neighborhood residents. ¬†
Cole Creek - Due to extensive flooding in 1999, 40 properties in the floodplain of Cole Creek were purchased through a voluntary buy-out program created by FEMA, the City of Omaha, and the Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District (NRD).¬† Houses on these properties have been removed and they are now City-owned vacant lots.
The Cole Creek HIA explores potential uses for these vacant lots that would improve the health and well-being of nearby residents or at least how these lots could be maintained at a stable level so they don't lead to neighborhood deterioration.
Cole Creek HIA Issue Brief - four page summary of the HIA findings
Cole Creek HIA Appendices - supplemental information including larger maps and references
Technical Assistance HIAs
DCHD also¬†provided technical assistance for two other local health departments in Nebraska -- South Heartland District Health Department and West Central District Health Department -- to complete their first HIAs. ¬†Their HIAs were on a¬†Nuisance Abatement Program¬†and a¬†Mobile Home Ordinance¬†respectively.¬†
Prior HIAs in Omaha/Douglas County
Adams Park - a 68 acre green space located near 30th and Bedford - is a focus of current¬†revitalization efforts in North Omaha.¬†¬†The¬†HIA¬†helped inform the Omaha¬†Parks¬†Department on how¬†the planned¬†renovation to Adams Park -- especially the creation of an urban farming and community¬†gardening center -- could create a better food and fitness environment for residents.¬†¬†
24th Street Road Diet
The City of Omaha is proposing including a center turn lane on¬†South 24th Street from Leavenworth to L Street (see below).¬†¬†This type of change, which involves¬†going from four lanes to three,¬†is commonly called a road diet.¬† The HIA found that the top concerns for¬†South Omaha residents¬†(making it safer to cross the street and decreasing speeding) would be improved through a road diet.¬† The HIA also¬†found that¬†a road diet would¬†likely prevent 50 crashes per year while still handling the same volume of traffic.
Walkable Mixed-Use Neighborhood - Recently community¬†planning efforts have found that¬†Omaha's quality of life could be improved if residents had viable transportation options¬†other than driving exclusively.¬† As a result, the¬†City of Omaha Planning Department is considering creating a¬†zoning classification¬†for¬†walkable mixed-use neighborhoods and requested an HIA on how this zoning might¬†affect the health of current and future Omahans.¬†¬†The HIA¬†found that research shows a strong connection between how a neighborhood is designed and how much people walk.¬†¬†The HIA¬†also found that several cities are working to create¬†"20 minute neighborhoods" where¬†people¬†can easily walk to¬†the places they want¬†to go.¬†