Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Group 3—Infrastructure in New Jersey, Part I

The main goal of this group is to map out the infrastructure in New Jersey cities—notably, Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and Trenton. This group will tackle infrastructure by looking at:

-Transportation: how residents use it to access their food and health care providers

-Playgrounds: the role they play in facilitating exercise and giving children an alternative to other detrimental activities

-Vacant land/Unoccupied Buildings: how it signals lack of wealth in a community and also acts as a prime location for illegal activities

-Liquor stores: what the demand for liquor means (there is only supply if there is demand), what the money could be better spent on and the adverse health effects which result from excessive use.

-Schools: how the quality of the schools reflect the wealth of the area and the health of its community members

-Public Housing/Rental Housing: how they reflect the transience of communities, which often plays a role in health because of a lack of community and interconnectedness

-Banks & Lending Institutions: banks show wealth and investment in a community, but payday lending institutions are more common in poor neighborhoods and prey on the community.

-Government sources/Non-Profit services: how these institutions aid in access to healthcare, social services, and government welfare services.

-Churches & Other Religious Institutions: how they build community cohesion and provide access to services

And, to get a real feel for the environment, students will actually go to these places, take pictures and report about on-the-ground realities. In the end, each member of this group will produce a map of his/her specific focus, a short paper, and several power-point slides for the final presentation. The group as a whole will produce a short paper and a comprehensive map that will be included as a chapter of the final report.

It promises to be a very interesting project.