Community Health

Exploring Asset-Based Community Development: The Parkway Community

The Parkway Community ABCD Exercise invites students to engage in an exercise to explore what it means to take an asset-based approach to community development (“an ABCD” approach), versus a “needs” or “deficit” approach. Students are broken into groups and given a description of the Parkway Community. One group is given a list of assets while another group is given a list of needs. Students come up with recommendations for a nonprofit to engage with the community and then compare and contrast the recommendations. The exercise concludes with an explanation of ABCD principles.

An Introduction to Community Health

Community health is the state of wellbeing of a group of individuals who share common attitudes, beliefs, interests, histories, and/or goals. Use this tool to explore what it means to optimize the health and quality of life of community members in a socially just and holistic way. Students will learn the many factors that contribute to the health of individuals and communities, as well as the people and resources that influence the health of a community. The discussion questions will aid students in breaking down the complexities of community health, as well as understanding their role in contributing to potential solutions. The optional workshop adds an experiential learning dimension to these discussions and activities.

 

Readings, Videos, and Resources about Community Health

The Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain aims to help students create sustainable communities, where humans and nature flourish in the present and future. One SLS Priority area concerning sustainable communities is Community Health, which focuses on achieving a holistic and communal understanding of health, in all intellectual, physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, and social aspects of life.

Community Engagement Preparation and Reflection Tool

This tool provides instructors with two assignments that 1) prepare students to engage with community partners, and 2) allow students to reflect upon their community engagement experience. The two assignments that comprise this tool are tailored to courses in the SLS Community Health Linked Courses track; however, they are available as editable worksheets. This will allow you to adjust the assignment according to the themes of your course. After students have completed the Reflection assignment, use this tool’s Discussion Guide to lead a conversation about what students have learned from their community engagement experience, and how that learning relates to the course goals.

SLS Case Study: Proctor Creek

Proctor Creek runs through northwest Atlanta, extending from I-20 in southwest Atlanta to the Chattahoochee River. An important piece of Atlanta’s natural environment, it also has a long history of neglect and pollution, which has negatively affected its surrounding communities. In this case study, read about this history, as well as new and ongoing development projects in West Atlanta that demand close attention to the Proctor Creek Watershed. Additionally, concepts like Environmental Justice and Citizen Science will provide a lens for thinking about issues related to the creek and how to protect its surrounding communities. 

Urban Heat Islands and the Georgia Tech Climate Network

Extreme heat leads to more deaths in the US than all other natural disasters combined, and as global temperatures rise, so will the dangers. Urban areas, such as Georgia Tech’s campus, are of primary concern because of the urban heat island effect – the phenomenon in which cities are warmer than nearby rural areas.

Georgia Tech needs your help! This tool will teach you more about the urban heat island effect. You’ll identify real-world urban heat islands on the Georgia Tech campus and propose strategies to reduce temperatures at these campus hot spots. We encourage you to send your recommendations to Georgia Tech’s Urban Climate Lab for consideration! 

SLS Case Study: The 1995 Chicago Heat Wave

Are heat waves simply natural disasters over which we have no control? With heat waves set to increase over the coming decades, how can we fight this invisible killer? In this case study, head back to 1995 Chicago, when one of the deadliest heat waves in US history struck the city, killing hundreds. Learn about the demographics that were particularly vulnerable to the heat wave, and how those vulnerabilities made this heat wave (and others like it) not just a natural disaster, but a social one. After reading this case study and an interview transcript with one of the experts on the 1995 Chicago heat wave, turn to the Discussion Questions to think about how social networks and the built environment can protect us during heat waves now and in the future.

SLS Case Study: The Flint Water Crisis

The Flint Water Crisis is one of the most significant instances of environmental injustice in the 21st century.  In this case study, read about the impact of the crisis on the natural world, as well as the residents of Flint, Michigan, and learn about how we can use technology to create a safe, sustainable water system. Serve-Learn-Sustain interprets sustainable communities as integrated systems, wherein nature, technology and society all inform each other. As you read this case study, consider these terms as discrete factors, but also as connected.

This tool was contributed by Bethany Jacobs. 

An Intro to Community Health

Community health is the state of wellbeing of a group of individuals who share common attitudes, beliefs, interests, histories, and/or goals. Use this tool to explore what it means to optimize the health and quality of life of community members in a socially just and holistic way. Students will learn the many factors that contribute to the health of individuals and communities, as well as the people and resources that influence the health of a community. The discussion questions will aid students in breaking down the complexities of community health, as well as understanding their role in contributing to potential solutions.