Parents and children gather on a neighborhood playground.

Supporting Better Living Environments

Supporting Better Living Environments

The intersection of public health and the built environment is a major research priority for CQGRD. The Center embraces Health in all Policies (HIAP), which recognizes that addressing health challenges requires us to tackle social determinants of health including transportation, housing, urban development, environmental, and other interlinked aspects of health and the built environment.

"Healthy Places" is a term that refers to buildings, neighborhoods, and even entire metropolitan areas that support the health, well-being, and quality of life of its inhabitants. This requires a  multidisciplinary effort to shape healthy places, that includes planning, design, and policy to promote good health, support community values, and restore vitality to communities.

While public health practitioners have long recognized the need for cross-cutting solutions, the Center seeks to institutionalize the consideration of health in other sectors such as transportation planning, freight planning, economic development, and community design. The Center contributes to the understanding and development of healthy places by conducting research, disseminating innovative ideas on healthy places, and supporting the Healthy Places Research Group.

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National AA Child & Family RC

Sponsors: Morehouse School of Medicine, NAACFRC

Spatial Analysis is a useful tool in determining responsiveness to factors such as unemployment. The responsiveness to rise in unemployment during the Recession of 2008 was highly varied between states (Albert & Lim, 2018). ​Applying similar analyses to poverty changes during the pandemic in 2020 can help us assess state responsiveness and lay the foundation for analyzing associated factors.


GTEVPR Seed Grant

April 2021-August 2021

Feedback from our previous NIH R03 submission indicates the need for growing the team to include additional research expertise as well as deepen community and health organization partnerships to demonstrate receptiveness of the tool and social impact. Funding from this seed grant will help us further develop and expand the research plan to focus on data/analytics, optimization and technology aspects, enable preliminary data exploration, refine hypotheses, grow the research team to include required expertise, cultivate community and industry partnerships and successfully apply for research funding. 


Health Impact Assessments of City of Atlanta’s CARGO

Sponsor: The Pew Charitable Trusts | November 2014–December 2016

The Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development conducted an HIA, funded by a grant from the Health Impact Project, to inform the Cargo Atlanta Citywide Freight Study, which developed policies to facilitate efficient freight movement in and around the city. The HIA examined the potential health implications of various policies, including diesel emissions standards, traffic patterns, and employment, which can affect respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injury rates, and general health.


Health Impact Assessment of Freight Plan Coastal Region MPO

Sponsor: The Pew Charitable Trusts | November 2014–December 2016

The purpose of this HIA is to assess the public health implications of ongoing planning efforts related to freight movement in Chatham County, Georgia. These efforts include an assessment of the “CORE MPO Freight Study” conducted by the Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (CORE MPO, 2015). Although the CORE MPO Freight Study includes a three county area (Bryan, Effingham, and Chatham), the HIA team narrowed the area of focus to Chatham County only. The Port of Savannah is located in Chatham County, so the impacts of freight movement are greatest there, and it is also the most populous of the three counties. (There are approximately 278,000 people in Chatham compared to a combined population of 30,000 in Bryan and Effingham.)


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City of Decatur, GA Community Transportation Plan &Rapid HIA

Sponsor: City of Decatur, GA | November 2006 - November 2007

The Georgia Tech Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development conducted a rapid health impact assessment (HIA) on the Decatur, Georgia, Community Transportation Plan, focusing on potential health impacts of transportation and patterns of land use on safety, social connections, and physical activity. The HIA found that the plan could lead to a slight reduction in car use and associated health problems, such as injuries and obesity. Additionally, the increase in biking and walking in the city would raise physical activity levels and offer more opportunities for social interaction.

To best leverage the potential health benefits of new transportation and land use patterns, the HIA recommended developing a community-wide campaign to promote physical activity, partnering with local schools to encourage childhood physical activity, ensuring that intersections comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and are easily accessible, emphasizing the mobility of Decatur's most vulnerable populations, and prioritizing connectivity throughout the city.


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