Interdisciplinary planning for healthier communities: Findings from the harlem children's zone asthma initiative

Seth E. Spielman, Cynthia A. Golembeski, Mary E. Northridge, Roger D. Vaughan, Rachel Swaner, Betina Jean-Louis, Katherine Shoemaker, Sandra Klihr-Beall, Eric Polley, Linda F. Cushman, Bejamin Ortiz, Vincent E. Hutchinson, Stephen W. Nicholas, Terry Marx, Roger Hayes, Andrew Goodman, Elliott D. Sclar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Health disparities that affect whole communities may involve factors like housing quality that lie at least partly within planners' realm of policy influence. This article demonstrates a link between housing and childhood asthma. The magnitude of the childhood asthma epidemic in Harlem in New York City and the commitment of engaged community partners led to an interdisciplinary, participatory, and multifaceted approach to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the Harlem Children's Zone Asthma Initiative. Here we present the first year's data on environmental triggers in the homes of program participants, showing that intensive, community-based programs can reduce both home environmental triggers and adverse childhood asthma outcomes. This provides an example of a community-wide public health intervention that informs public policy and planning, and may provide a sustainable model for reducing childhood asthma in impoverished communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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