Semenza 2003 - "The Intersection of Urban Planning, Art, and Public Health: The Sunnyside Piazza"

Semenza, Jan C
"The Intersection of Urban Planning, Art, and Public Health: The Sunnyside Piazza"
American Journal of Public Health
September 2003, v.93, n9; pp1439-1441
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In 2001 residents of the Sunnyside neighborhood in Portland, OR transformed a central intersection into the Sunnyside Piazza, a public gathering place. A small survey and observations indicate that residents of Sunnyside have higher satisfaction with their neighborhood, better sense of community, and better health than residents of adjacent neighborhoods.

Changes to the Sunnyside Piazza include a sunflower painted in the intersection, trellises for hanging gardens, an art wall, an information kiosk for messages and notices, a solar-powered fountain, and planters in the parking lanes to prevent parked cars from reducing the visibility of on-coming traffic.  It does not appear that they closed the intersection to cars.

A simple survey of nearby residents and passers-by indicates that 65% of Sunnyside residents rated their neighborhood excellent, compared with 35% of residents at a control site.  And 86% of Sunnysiders reported excellent or very good general health, compared with 70% at the control site.

Three more “intersection repair” projects are or will be underway, and the author will study them as well.

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