"There aren't any sidewalks in our area so walking at any hour is a risk" -Resident of Clinton
LAND USE & BUILT ENVIRONMENT
The built environment falls within the traditional definition of environmental health but this definition continues to expand as we see the landscape of where one lives and works influencing their behaviors and quality of life. Key structural features like sidewalks, trees, parks, and roads that are pedestrian friendly tend to influence a healthier and more physically active lifestyle. The community survey assessed resident perception on land development, abandoned commercial sites, green space, and access to public transportation, sidewalk conditions, and sidewalk availability.
Land development, although positive for economic development and vibrancy throughout a neighborhood, can have an adverse impact on the amount of green space. About 21% of residents surveyed indicated that land development had a major effect on their health while 19% of residents indicated there was too much land development.
Approximately 26.9% residents indicated that abandoned commercial properties had a major impact on their health. Zone 3 (Akron) exhibited higher rates of impact with 42.3% of residents in Akron indicating that abandoned commercial properties have a negative impact on their health.
The Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority services most of Summit County and provides residents transportation access to resources like grocery stores, medical facilities, educational institutions, and different areas throughout the county. Not all areas have easy access to public transportation. Approximately 7% of residents surveyed indicated that not having public transportation near them was a serious problem. Approximately 19% of residents in Zone 1 (Northern Summit County) showed a higher percentage of lack of public transportation being a serious problem. Because this section borders the greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area we can deduce that those residents could mean both in-county and out-of-county public transportation.
Sidewalks not only act as a piece of infrastructure for safety, but also promote physical activity and encourage a pedestrian-friendly community. The concept of built environment looks at sidewalks within the lens of safety and community culture as it relates to physical activity. The survey assessed both the availability of sidewalks and the conditions of sidewalks. While not all communities have or desire sidewalks, in communities where there is a pedestrian-friendly landscape the conditions of the sidewalk are important for safety. Approximately 23% of residents surveyed indicated that the availability of sidewalks is a serious problem while 14% indicated the conditions of the sidewalks are a serious problem. Many of the comments throughout the survey indicated sidewalk conditions and the lack thereof as an issue and safety being a major concern.
Physical activity is important to not only improving, but maintaining optimal quality of life. Recreational structures, both indoors and outdoors, provide opportunity for people to engage in physical activity. The survey assessed the quantity of indoor recreation facilities (e.g., gyms, community centers, pools) and outdoor recreation facilities (e.g., parks, trails, pools). Approximately 9% of residents surveyed noted that there were too few indoor recreation facilities and that it was a serious problem. There are approximately 97 indoor fitness clubs in Summit County and 122 indoor swimming pools.
Outdoor recreation facilities encompass many different types of facilities. In Summit County there are 11 golf courses, 12 public beaches, 168 outdoor pools, 4 RV Park Facilities, and 6 resident camps. In addition to these specialty outdoor recreation facilities, there are traditional parks which may include bike paths and trails within each. In Summit County there are four types of parks: municipal, metro, state, and national. Summit County has 229 municipal parks with the majority of them being in larger cities like Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, and Hudson. Summit County is home to Summit Metro Parks which is a 14,100 acre area with 16 parks. Summit Metro has approximately 125 miles of trails, 34 miles of the Bike and Hike Trail and approximately 22.4 miles of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. According to the American Community Survey, there are approximately eight state parks, forests, nature preserves, and wildlife areas totaling over 2,600 acres. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only national park with portions of its land in Summit County.
SOLID WASTE & SUSTAINABILITY
Reducing waste through recycling is vital to sustaining a healthy environment. When waste is reused and recycled, the burdens on the landfills are reduced. Residents were asked about the quantity of recycling facilities. Approximately 35% of residents indicated there are not enough recycling facilities. While most municipalities offer some form of recycling, residents that live in multi-unit housing may not have access to recycling. Approximately 9% of residents surveyed indicated not having recycling available to them is a serious problem.
Data Source: Summit ReWorks