Built Environments: A Quick Introduction

You probably don’t know what Built Environments are. That’s okay. But I’m going to be blogging about Built Environments almost exclusively for the next couple of months. So, I’ll help you out so that you can follow along. Don’t worry, it’ll be painless.

Built Environments are the spaces that humans build as settings for human activities. So, that wouldn’t include the beauty of the Appalachia mountains. But it would include the beauty of Lake Lanier in Georgia. That’s a man-made lake. It’s totally a Built Environment. Here’s a definition from an expert:

“Built Environment- Settings designed, created, modified, and maintained by human efforts, such as homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, parks, roadways, and transit systems.”

That’s from Making Healthy Places, a book that’s all about Built Environments from a Public Health perspective. It’s from a Public Health perspective because it’s all about how Built Environments influence health, well-being, and are sustainable. So, it takes into account access to health food, safe places to exercise and play, and safe places to live and work. It covers a bunch of different topics, but the main theme of Built Environments when Public Health people, like me, talk about it is access.

I live in Atlanta, I grew up in the metro-Atlanta area, and I’m studying public health at Georgia State. I’ve lived here long enough to know that metro-Atlanta has a long history of inequitable distribution of resources. The distribution of resources like: access to good schools, access to affordable and quality housing, access to public transportation, and often access to the resources that generate and sustain health. I’ve also lived here long enough to be deeply invested in exploring and eliminating those inequities. A lot of the stuff you’ll read when I write about Built Environments, inequitable distribution of resources, gentrification, and failed or abusive public policy will sound really familiar, no matter where you live. These issues aren’t unique to Atlanta.

As we go along, I’ll be exploring a bunch of different topics through photos, blog post, and little bit of “dear diary”-type journaling. So, if you’re interested in reading about:
– The displacement of health disparities
– Racism inherent in housing policy
– The history of Atlanta, with a focus on the Old 4th Ward
– Understand and explore gentrification as it pertains to American cities
– Explore the effects of built environments on gentrification and displacement of low-income residents
– The successes and failures of mixed income communities
– The value of preserving communities, upgrading living conditions, and creating equitable access to the benefits of a thoughtful built environment

then awesome! Welcome. Comment, critique, correct! But anything I post is a safe space, which means it’s not safe for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism or whatever other –ism or –phobia someone might be harboring. Let’s get this party started.

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