Increasing health equity by prioritizing green planning in social and racial justice contexts
Gray to Green is an environmental and climate focused initiative driven by an inclusive community process that centers the vision and experience of residents of the Morningside and West Side Neighborhoods in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Our core value is to work towards environmental justice and increase green planning and project implementation through the lenses of racial and social justice, because climate and environmental justice are racial justice. Over time, our initiative hopes to increase access to green space, improve quality of green space, and improve quality of life and life expectancy for the residents of the Morningside and Westside.
Major initiatives of this project are conducting an environmental scan to understand what data has already been collected, what analyses have been done, and what plans already exist that affect the neighborhoods, forming a representative and robust Working Group made up of planners, residents, City officials, and Community Organizations, the development of the Community Academy through Berkshires Habitat for Humanity, conduct video and photo based neighborhood audits, and to formulate specific policy recommendations and specific projects to prioritize to improve and “green” the built environment.
Gray to Green is a 5-year planning program funded by the Department of Public Health, with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission as the fiscal host of this project. Our major funded partners on this project are Berkshire Habitat for Humanity and 18 Degrees.