Listen to Webinar on Building Healthy Communities

On Wednesday, PHS staffer Bob Grossmann participated in a webinar for HealthyPeople.gov, a science-based, national organization that aims to improve the health of all Americans.

The 30 minute presentation, titled Who’s Leading the Leading Health Indicators?, focused on PHS’s Philadelphia LandCare Program, which has demonstrated significant reductions in crime through the clearing and maintenance of vacant lots.

Joining Bob in the conversation was Dr. Charles Branas of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Branas works to improve health and healthcare and is recognized for his efforts to reduce violence and enhance emergency care. Much of his work incorporates human geography and spatial interactions. His studies have taken him to various places; beyond Philadelphia, he’s conducted research in rural counties across the US and in cities and small towns in Guatemala and other countries.

You can listen to the webinar by clicking here.

New Study Finds Green Space Linked to Reduced Crime Rates

Trees, gardens, and grass may be pretty, but did you know they might actually keep you safe, active, and happy as well?

It’s true. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently found that neighborhoods in which blighted, vacant lots have been cleaned and greened report lower crime rates than neighborhoods in which vacant lots have not been improved. The study has been reported on by both The Atlantic and the Philadelphia Inquirer, both of which highlight the efforts of the PHS Philadelphia LandCare program to improve vacant lots citywide.

From the Atlantic article:

Vacant lot greening was associated with significant reductions in gun assaults across all four sections of Philadelphia in the study and with significant reductions in vandalism in one section. Greening was also associated with the reporting of significantly less stress in one of the sections of the city and with more exercise in another. Cholesterol numbers were lower to a statistically significant degree for the greened areas across all four city sections.

The Inquirer also touts the job-creating benefits of greening programs like LandCare, which engages “the landscapers and community groups [in] mowing grass and pruning trees.”

It’s all just one more reason to start a community garden, Plant One Million, and keep supporting PHS‘s goal of making Philly as green (and safe) as it can be. And thanks to the everyone in the Philadelphia Green department for all they do!

Philadelphia LandCare Program Recognition

PHS is honored to announce that the Philadelphia LandCare Program, coordinated by PHS and funded by the Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development, has been chosen as a Bright Idea recipient.

The Bright Idea awards, selected by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, recognize organizations which address pressing public issues through creative, pioneering programming.

The LandCare Program works to transform trash-strewn, idle parcels of land by adding trees, wood fences, and well-maintained lawns in order to increase the economic progress and revitalize the quality of life in these neighborhoods.

In the words of Deborah McColloch, director of OHCD, “LandCare is lifting up some of Philadelphia’s most distressed communities and providing jobs for neighborhood residents.”

Interested in learning more? Check out the Community LandCare Groups on the PHS website, or learn more about the program here.