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Going Green

But what’s staggering is that percentage more than doubles for the Latino community, as about 81 percent of Latino households live in a neighborhood without a park.
Lack to safe public spaces is one of the unique challenges facing the Latino community, and the issue was the focus of the final session of our webinar series looking at how obesity affects Latinos. joined the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on Tuesday for “Green Spaces, Safe Places and Other Infrastructure Concerns for Latino Children.”
Panelists included Bechara Choucair, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health; Sara Zimmerman, senior staff attorney for Public Health Law and Policy; and Javier Lopez, director of the New York City Strategic Alliance for Health.
Safe open spaces can help people lead more active lives, which in turn can help keep people healthy. Finding ways to encourage such spaces can be tough, especially in low-income communities that are also often plagued by crime.
But solutions are emerging. For example, Lopez helped oversee an initiative to bring pop-up play spaces, called “Play Streets” to New York neighborhoods, specifically targeting areas that do not have a public park or safe place to play. Featured in the New York Times, the effort was so successful that Mayor Michael Bloomberg included plans to open 15 Play Streets each year in his PLANYC 2030 initiative.