St. James Town Initiative: Neighbourhood and Health


Published on

This presentation provides research results and selected action items from the Community Mapping and Photovoice research projects conducted in St. James Town.

SJT Initiative Working Group
Follow us on twitter @wellesleyWI

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

St. James Town Initiative: Neighbourhood and Health

  1. 1. Community Voices From Evidence to Action St. James Town Initiative: Neighbourhood and Health By SJT Initiative Working Group : SJT Residents for a Healthier Neighbourhood City Hall Presentation November 13, 2008 1Participants Representing City Hall Departments Names Title 1. Pam McConnell Councillor 2. Angela Stea Planner, City Planning 3. Brian Waterman Supervisor, Regent Park South Community Centre, Parks Forestry & Rec 4. Cathy Tersigni Community Health Officer, Toronto Public Health 5.Chris Brillinger Executive Director, Social Development, Finance & Administration 6. Fiona Skurjat Supervisor, Investigation Services, Municipal Licensing and Standards 7. Gerry Martell Manager, Operational Support, Solid Waste Management Services 8. Glenn Gustafson Executive Assistant to Councillor McConnell 2 1
  2. 2. Participants Representing City Hall Departments Names Title 9. Kim Quade Labour Market Manager, Downtown Toronto Social Services 10. Mark Hawkins Supervisor, Parks, Parks Forestry and Recreation 11. Nancy Evans Operating Unit Manager, Toronto Community Housing Corporation 12. Rosemary Foulds Policy Development Officer, Shelters Support and Housing 13.Sean McIntyre Constituency Assistant to Councillor McConnell 14.Shari Kamali Manager, Downtown Toronto Social Services 15.Susan Kitchen City Planning 16.Tona Robis Director, Downtown Toronto Social Services 3Members of the SJT Working Group Names 1. Uttam Makaju 2. Aklima Halkampi 3. Antonio Garcia 4. Renuka Traja 5. Grace Wang 6. Sailaivsan Vettivelu 7. Gene Lara *8. Brian Eng * 9. Erin Moriarty *10. Nasim Haque * Wellesley Institute Staff 4 2
  3. 3. SJT Initiative Project Site North St. James Town : Basic Data DemographicsPopulation: 14,666 (25 -30,000)Area: 0.23 km²Density : 64,636 people/km²Newcomers : 64%37% arrived b/w 2001-200666% 1st Language not Eng or French48 different languagesDwelling 100% rental18 aging high rise buildings (10-35 floors) 5 SJT Initiative • Five year Community-Based Health Research & Action Project of Wellesley Institute • Focuses on neighbourhood characteristics and health of newcomers • Collaborates with residents and grassroots organizations in capacity building, research planning, and program development efforts 6 3
  4. 4. SJT Initiative1. Utilizes various participatory methods to: a) Provide learning opportunities to participants b) Produce useful information that can be used for and by the community 2. The outcomes of research are expected to help: a) Enhance the potentials of community members b) Mobilize residents to advocate for positive social change c) Inform policy d) Contribute to the knowledge base of urban health 7SJT Initiative: Community Voices• Today’s presentation are the true voices of residents who participated in the projects • The photos and hand drawn maps are original• The captions on each photograph are actual quotes extracted from participants photo stories – reviewed & finalized by the participants• The photos were taken in summer/ fall of 2007• The Community Mapping Project was completed earlier this year 8 4
  5. 5. St. James Town Initiative: Neighbourhood & Health COMMUNITY VOICES RESULTS from 3 Participatory Research Processes• Study conducted by SJT newcomer residents• Explored neighbourhood characteristics and its effect on health through: 1. Photo Voice – taking photos and writing stories 2. Community mapping- sharing experiences by drawing the neighbourhood and participating in interviews 3. Concept mapping-working together to understand the relationships between the ideas captured in the Photo Voice project to define the important themes and issues in the SJT neighbourhood that impact our health 9 SJT Residents at Work at the Wellesley Institute Sorting the Photo Voice Photos Examining the Relationships in the Concept Map 10 5
  6. 6. St. Jamestown Initiative Dissemination of Information- March 20, 2008: Community Forum and Expo at Rose Avenue Public School- 300 visitors attended- Launched SJT Initiative website ( Average hit (April October 2008) = 22,000 hits/month Toronto City Hall Photo Exhibit September 23-26th 2008SJT Working Group at City Hall Audience examining one of the poster displays 12 6
  7. 7. St. James Town Initiative: Neighbourhood & Health COMMUNITY VOICES • “Concept Map” is a computer software program. We used this participatory process to categorize the Photo Voice results and summarize the findings The ten themes uncovered using Concept Mapping: 1. Society 2. Sense of Pride 3. Attractions 4. Green Space 5. Lack of Maintenance and Improvement 6. Environment 7. Improvement for Health 8. Safety 9. Education 10. Need Social Support and Protection 13 Photo Voice and Concept Map: A Planning ToolTen – Cluster Solution Concept Map 14 7
  8. 8. The opening of the library and community centre has brought a sense of optimism to an area known for drugs, guns and violence. Finally, we have something in our neighbourhood that we can flaunt with pride. 15The time and effort that goesinto maintaining this waterfallshould also go into the rest ofSt. James Town as well. MakingSt. James Town look beautiful andclean would make residents feelgood about themselves. 16 8
  9. 9. Community Voices • There are many strengths and opportunities in our neighbourhood • We appreciate the few improvements that have been initiated this summer • However, a lot more needs to be done 17Community Voices Today we specifically want to call your attention on four main issues: 1. Green Space and Park Maintenance 2. Recycling and Garbage 3. Building Maintenance and Safety 4. Bicycle Storage• We strongly believe that these issues can be addressed with little effort and minimal cost & in the long term will save government money by helping SJT residents maintain their physical and emotional health 18 9
  10. 10. Partial results are being presented here complete results areavailable on our website 1. GREEN SPACE AND PARK MAINTENANCE 19Public spaces can build social wealth. The parks we have are not well-maintained and do not show care. This neglect is transmitted to people wholive here. Like the squirrel, isolated and depressed people can deteriorate anddevelop sickness. They become a liability to the health system. We needwell-maintained parks and public spaces to be a healthy community. 20 10
  11. 11. “Out of Frame”This bench does not have a seat and it has been this way since last summer.This is a very busy place as people come here for relaxation, walking, andleisure talk with each other. If such resources are not well maintained,we cannot be proud of anything. 21This dead pigeon had been out in the park for several days. We do not wantpolicy makers to write endless lists of bylaws that supposedly guarantee us aclean environment. What we need is enforcement by inspectors whowill make sure the bylaws are upheld by the landlords. 22 11
  12. 12. So in a neighbourhood where a lot of gang plays, and crime and other bad things happen and if a school is located in the middle of everything would that be a safe place to send your child ? 23 Community Mapping Project: View of a ParticipantWhen we first came here, we had very high expectations because we werecoming to Toronto…but it is not good. Nobody takes care of the surroundings. Onapartment terraces, you cannot see flowers. People are always storing thingsthere. It is ugly. I can find gardens near my building, but they are not managednicely. There is a lot of garbage here. We need a disciplined way ofmanaging the parks and gardens. Beautiful things are important to me.Surroundings are important - they make me smile and relax, so I can gowith a smiling face. 24 12
  13. 13. Main Points : Green space and Park Maintenance 1. We need well-maintained parks & public spaces to be a healthy community 2. There are broken benches, phone booths and playground equipment 3. Aesthetics and cleanliness of the neighbourhood are very important to us 4. We need to ensure that bylaws are enforced and upheld by the landlords 25 2. GARBAGE AND RECYCLING 26 13
  14. 14. This garbage container is full. The garbage bag needs to be changed before it is filled. We also need separate bins for recycling, otherwise the environment will be polluted. 27This garbage dump is situated in the middle of many housing units whereresidents’ balconies are in close proximity, exposing them to rodents, germs,and other agents that can harm their health. If higher income familiesoccupied these buildings, would such a health hazard be present ? 28 14
  15. 15. Trash always has germs, and is contaminated. Diseases can spread if garbage is kept around and isn’t removed immediately. 29There is a lot of litter visible in St. James Town. This is a major problembecause it carries a lot of bacteria and is hazardous to health. Residentsdeserve to breathe clean, fresh air and live in a pleasantenvironment. 30 15
  16. 16. It is surprising how much of this garbage is actually recyclable. If the proper recyclingfacilities existed, the amount of garbage going out of the building would belessened. In the long run, this would represent a cost savings to the building and contributeto positive environmental impact. 31Main Points : Garbage and Recycling 1. Garbage is a serious problem in the neighbourhood 2. There are not enough garbage containers in public spaces nor are they emptied frequently enough 3. Garbage containers are situated in the middle of many housing units where residents’ balconies are in close proximity, exposing them to health hazards 4. There needs to be separate bins for recycling 32 16
  17. 17. 3. NEIGHBOURHOOD SAFETY AND BUILDING MAINTENANCE 33Unlit alleys such as the one seen in the picture in my opinion mayinvite unwanted criminal activity. A few years ago this very entrance was asite for a crime investigation. A young teenage boy was exiting the subway andheading home after work and was brutally murdered. He was a resident of theSt. James community. 34 17
  18. 18. There is not a single day that all the elevators are working. Sometimes we getstuck in the elevators and it is a major inconvenience, especially for seniors.You can imagine how this problem affects our health. Properly maintainedliving spaces are essential for well-being. 35This pool is always closed. If the pool was fixed, kids could getexercise and would have an activity to do instead of roaming theneighbourhood. Other pools are too far away. This pool should befixed so it can bring fun and life back to the community. 36 18
  19. 19. Community Mapping Project: View of one of the ParticipantThe Bleeker St. basketball court is not a safe or healthy place for kids. That’swhere older kids hang out with younger kids and smoke and sell drugs. Theyshouldn’t be doing this with younger kids around. I think this is a bad role model. 13, 14 yearold kids hanging out with 20 year olds… what’s that all about? Younger kids look up to olderkids and respond to peer pressure. That’s why younger teens are getting into trouble with thelaw and stuff like that. 37 Main Points : Neighbourhood Safety and Building Maintenance 1. The elevators are consistently broken. It is a major inconvenience and health hazard especially, for seniors 2. The pool is always closed. This is one of the few resources in the neighbourhood for physical activity 3. There are a number of places in the neighbourhood where people do not feel safe to walk because of poor lighting and known criminal activities 4. A number of the play areas for children and youth are not safe because of negative behaviors 38 19
  20. 20. 4. BICYCLE STORAGE 39Bikes are an important transportation tool for many residents of St. JamesTown. The few bike racks in St. James Town are not well maintained,so bikes are locked on fences, trees, and even garbage cans, all overthe neighbourhood. They are prone to theft and vandalism. 40 20
  21. 21. Bicycles are a primary mode of transportation in St. James Town. Ourneighbourhood needs to have special bicycle rooms or sheds ineach building. Maybe even a monitor to prevent stealing. 41It would be good to have an awareness program regarding how wecan make our community environment clean. We have to informpeople about how garbage can spread disease if we do not manage itproperly. 42 21
  22. 22. Main Points : Bicycle Storage 1. Bicycles are a primary mode of transportation for many residents of St. James Town. Currently, there are no safe bicycle storage spaces in the neighbourhood 2. Bicycles are a clean mode of transportation but if bicycles are damaged or stolen while locked up, residents will not be able to use this transportation alternative 43 5. RECOMMENDATIONS 44 22
  23. 23. RECOMMENDATIONS I. Green Space & Park Maintenance 1. To encourage seniors and families to use the limited green space available in the neighbourhood, we recommend that broken park benches and public infrastructure are repaired and that more benches are provided 2. To remind and encourage residents to take care of neighbourhood parks and open public spaces, we recommend the installation of signs • No feeding the pigeons • Keep parks clean • Do not walk on the grass 45Contd.. RECOMMENDATIONSII. Recycling and Garbage 1. To support Toronto becoming green, we suggest the implementation of a recycling program in St. James Town. To initiate this action we recommend that the city place recycling bins in: • each building • public spaces, and • on road sides 2. To reduce smells and pests in large garbage collection bins, we suggest the re-installation of these bins in protected enclosures 3. To make tenants aware of their responsibilities and benefits of maintaining cleanliness in the neighbourhood, arrange public awareness programs 46 23
  24. 24. Contd.. RECOMMENDATIONSIII. Neighbourhood Safety & Building Maintenance 1. To facilitate the use of available open spaces and to discourage negative activity in the neighbourhood we recommend the installation and replacement of lights throughout the neighbourhood 2. To alleviate the stress of residents and increase safety (for example: decreasing medical response time by emergency personnel) ensure the building elevators are in working order 3. To encourage residents of all ages to be physically active, we recommend the limited resources available in the neighbourhood are well maintained and expanded • two existing swimming pools be kept in working order • construct more recreation facilities and opportunities in the neighbourhood to meet the population’s needs 47Contd.. RECOMMENDATIONS IV. Bicycle Storage 1.To promote SJT residents’ preference for using bicycles as means of local transportation, we recommend that immediate measures be taken to: • Provide safe bike storage space in each building • Construct bike racks throughout the neighbourhood with ample lighting to discourage vandalism and theft • Remove all broken locked bicycles from fences and existing bicycle racks 48 24
  25. 25. 4950 25