Update on Project Activities
It’s crunch time! This week we focused most of our energy towards divvying up parts of the final presentation and report, making sure that we were on track for the runthrough on Monday. Casey and Sonja worked on creating a map for CartoDB, which will serve as part of the database of proposed developments in the Tenderloin. Jenai and Paul have been working on other aspects of the deliverables for the TNDC, including compiling interview data and filling in the literature review. On Monday morning we plan to have our final check-in with Lorenzo via phone in order to make sure everything is looking good on our end. We also plan to meet with Dave from the Geospatial Lab to get some final editing help on our map.
What We Observed and Learned
In our continuance of our literature review, we’ve found a couple interesting things. One of the resources that we’ve explored is an article discussing state initiatives that support healthier food retail. The article helped discuss the importance of needs of such programs such as reducing obesity rates and disease prevention. However, what was most striking was the overall number of states that have launched similar food retail programs the and the various steps they took to enact a change. A Lot of other articles we’ve read have focused more on the effects and the reasoning but this article also gave very clear steps that can be taken by public health practitioners, organizations, and various partners. For example, it discusses preparing reports, fact sheets, and health data to demonstrate a need, identifying communities that lack access to food retail venues, and even consulting with subject matter experts with experience with HFR research and policy development. This article will help us to formulate a course of action for our partner in the future.
In addition to the data we collected both on the ground and online about potential developments, it was also important to survey and hear from community members. Closer to the beginning of the quarter, we had the chance to meet with a diverse group of community leaders intimately involved with making the Tenderloin a better place. It is very important in any kind of community-based work to humanize the data/demographics through storytelling and listening. In this way, it was important to root our studies in community members’ actual lives as well as to balance the defining of community needs while also figuring out economic feasibility. Speaking with community members, it was clear that food justice services (grocery stores, communal kitchens, healthy/affordable restaurants) were an emphasis although not a sole emphasis. However, these and other potential retail (notaries, copy machine centers, laundromats, salons, etc.) as well as community spaces (for group meetings, study, and job preparation, etc.) are potentially viable additions to the ground floors of new housing developments. The thoughts and contributions from the TL’s community leaders/members will also play a role in the part of our deliverable where we help craft a list of criteria to judge new developments and their potential to serve (or harm) the community).
Critical Analysis / Moving Forward
As we prepare for our final presentation and draft our final report/deliverables, we’ll take this chance to briefly reflect on this quarter’s project as a whole. Our project was divided into two main efforts--field research and production of deliverables. The field research was conducted in three outings in the Tenderloin, and was ultimately fairly productive. Our first visit, we interviewed five community leaders working with the TNDC on various projects and on our second visit, Casey sat in on a Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition meeting. During our third visit, we visited twelve proposed mixed-use developments in the Tenderloin. The first two visits allowed us a context in which to place our efforts, and the third allowed us to gather the specific data we needed to complete our deliverables. While we were ultimately able to gather all of the information we needed, it would have been more productive if we had had more specific goals for our first two visits. As it was, we didn’t have our deliverables in mind for the majority of the quarter and instead were gathering more general information through our field research and literature review. If we were to continue this project after the end of the quarter, we would need to lay out at the beginning our final goals for the project.