The “Walking Towards the Green” health impact and livability assessment will allow Camden, NJ residents to compile data about community assets and needs such as sidewalks, trails, green space and access to community gardens.
The Waterfront South neighborhood was chosen for the assessment. Waterfront South is home to residential, commercial and industrial uses, and also connects to the Delaware River and a number of local green spaces. While there are a number of engaged and effective community groups working on behalf of local residents, there are also significant needs in terms of quality pedestrian and bicyclist connections between neighborhood amenities.
In order to make this assessment meaningful for local residents and to have the best chance that recommendations will be implemented, project action steps are focused on engaging community members in both preparing and conducting the assessment, as well as in creating a toolkit that can be used for outreach and advocacy.
By meeting with community groups and local institutions, the Shaping NJ team has begun to gain useful insights, such as areas where recreation facilities and parks lack pedestrian connections and the local desire to include “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” principles in the assessment. After community feedback is fully incorporated into the assessment criteria, the assessment itself will be held in spring. We will then work with local residents to develop a set of recommendations based on the observations gathered, and will also create GIS mapping based on these observations. Finally, a series of community meetings will be held in the summer to discuss strategies to advocate for implementation of study recommendations.
The Shaping NJ team will seek to engage at least fifty
residents in the day-long assessment and will work with partners and participants to meet with local and state officials and agency leaders to press for improved walking and biking conditions in Waterfront South. As a result of the assessment, we hope that we gain future commitments for at least three significant walking and biking connections in the area.