Land Use & Health
The social, environmental, and economic circumstances in which we live shape our health risks, and often constrain our opportunities for health. The complex interaction between these circumstances plays out in the built environment—the physical, human-made places where we live, work, and play. Where and how we design these spaces directly shapes the physical, social, and mental health and wellbeing of our communities. Land use planning that centers health and is rooted in the needs of current residents can help communities thrive. But when poorly planned, our neighborhoods can contribute to and create poor health outcomes, displace people from their homes and communities, and place polluting facilities near our homes, schools, and hospitals.
PSR-LA’s Land Use & Health program strives to create healthy and prosperous communities in Los Angeles by addressing these problems through just and equitable frameworks. We assess land use in Los Angeles while working to redress legacies of racist and discriminatory land use policies and practices, with an emphasis on the disproportionately severe contamination and pollution caused by industrial land uses in the South Central community. With racial and social justice at the forefront, the program has three goals: promote healthy land uses and community-led land use planning, reduce exposure to toxic pollutants from past and current industrial uses, and forestall and eliminate the possibility of forced displacement and gentrification.
We engage in various campaigns at the local, state, and regional levels to help ensure that the policies at all levels reflect the needs and solutions identified by impacted communities. This includes efforts to protect community assets and control, such as CEQA advocacy and defense; advance Green Zones initiatives locally and across the state; and help uplift the UNIDAD Coalition’s Public Land for Public Good campaign.
California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA)
United Neighbors in Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD)
UNIDAD coalition is the product of a community collaboration formed to prevent the displacement of residents in South Central Los Angeles and to improve the health and economic well-being of low-income communities of color through responsible development.
Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles (ACT-LA)
ACT-LA strives to create just, equitable, sustainable transit systems and neighborhoods for all people in Los Angeles, placing the interest of low-income communities and communities of color first as we create a more sustainable region.
Healthy LA is a network of more than 330 advocacy organizations, worker centers, labor unions, service providers, religious congregations, community groups, affordable housing developers, public interest lawyers, public health and safety organizations, and many more uniting to address the devastating social and economic impact of the pandemic and to achieve just relief, recovery, and reconstruction.
Housing Now! California
Housing NOW! California is a broad and diverse movement building power to make housing affordable and to combat the displacement crisis that is disproportionately impacting working class communities of color.
Building Healthy Communities South LA (South LA BHC)
BHC SLA is a group of diverse partners —including community organizations, health care providers, schools, government agencies, residents, and youth—working together to make South Los Angeles a healthier place to live, work, and play.
How to Get Involved
Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, attend an upcoming PSR-LA event, follow us on social media, or become a member of PSR-LA today. If you’re a health professional, you can also participate in our Health Ambassador Program.
1 California Environmental Protection Agency California Air Resources Board. (2005). Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A Community Health Perspective.; Morello, R., Zuk, M., et. al. (2011). Understanding the Cumulative Impacts of Inequalities in Environmental Health: Implications for Policy. Health Affairs 30(5), 879-887; City of Los Angeles Air Quality Element (1992)
2 California Environmental Protection Agency California Air Resources Board. (2005). Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A Community Health Perspective.
3 Morello, R., Zuk, M., et. al. (2011). Understanding the Cumulative Impacts of Inequalities in Environmental Health: Implications for Policy. Health Affairs 30(5): 879-887