UD4H is pleased to announce that Benjamin Woelk has joined UD4H as the Director of Strategic Initiatives. He brings more than a decade of experience in placemaking, social entrepreneurship, and community planning practice to UD4H.
His recent focus on community infrastructure and health impact led to him authoring four separate Health Impact Assessments (HIA) on parks, trails, housing, and active transportation projects in New York State over the past five years. These HIAs include the Genesee Valley Greenway HIA and the Elmira Housing Rapid HIA which collectively led to nearly $7.5 million in funded infrastructure and programmatic improvements.
Benjamin formerly served on the international advisory committee of the Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment (SOPHIA) and was previously the Vice President of the Western Erie Canal Alliance – a five-county management entity for the western portion of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
We are excited to welcome Benjamin and look forward to bringing his skills and experience to our current and future portfolio of projects.
Continuing its role as a groundbreaking research enterprise, UD4Hhas published two recent journal articles in the realms of Transportation, Built Environment and Health.
The study modeled the complete pathway between built/natural environment, chronic disease, & COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) mortality and emphasizes the mediating role of chronic diseases in the links between upstream environmental factors and downstream COVID-19 mortality.
The results demonstrate the mechanisms through which the built and natural environment influences COVID-19 infection and severity of illness are quite different.
Findings: Healthier (active) and greener transportation infrastructure (e.g., increased tree canopy coverage) is a treatment for two pandemics – related chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, and reducing the mortality risk of highly contagious infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
2021 Smart Location Database Release
UD4H is proud to announce the recentrelease of theSmart Location Database (SLD). UD4H conducted this work for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The SLD is a well-known data resource used by federal agencies, planners, practitioners, researchers and community groups and other non-governmental organizations seeking a range of built environment metrics applicable for any region in the country.
The census block group level SLD metrics indicators include a series of built environment and transportation access metrics comprising 5 core domains: 1) Density, 2) Diversity, 3) Design, 4) Transit and 5) Accessibility, as well as various demographic and employment characteristics. UD4H staff:
Acquired, reviewed and assembled current base data sources from federal and regional agencies
Replicated and enhanced the measurement calculation methods for SLD metrics
Provided recommendations for future expansion and improvement going forward
The new SLD is based on:
Expanded transit coverage:
More recent General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data
Transit agencies included in the SLD more than doubled - now 573 agencies
Transit data now available for over 130 more regions
The latest updated demographic and employment data from the U.S. Census Bureau
Enhanced measures of auto and transit accessibility using traffic congestion weights
Expanded measure coverage for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. overseas territories (where data available)
Let us know if you would like to discuss ways UD4H can help you to integrate health, equity, and the built, natural, and social environment more fully into your work. Learn more about the services we offer.