DMI Blog

Karin Dryhurst

Making Services Reflect Communities

Originally posted by Karin Dryhurst at Next American City. Karin is blogging a conference on Women’s Health and Cities for the magazine.

Philadelphia often neglects to look at how its social services address the issues facing women in the city, Philadelphia Managing Director Camille Barnett said.

Barnett asked the city to develop statistics on the status of Philadelphia women for the conference. She found that in many ways, women are falling behind.

For mothers, half of the women giving birth in Philadelphia are obese and the number of women receiving late or no prenatal care has increased by more than 10 percent since 2006. Both factors influence the health of babies. And the infant mortality rate in Philadelphia has increased to 11 of 1000 live births, higher than Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Boston.

Barnett said many of these numbers were new to her, reflecting the lack of focus on the status of women. “These are measures we need to be looking at in city government,” Barnett said.

She said the city will look at its comprehensive plan for the first time in 50 years, and she pointed out an effort to look at how to design cities for healthier living.

New ways to map information could help cities like Philadelphia serve their communities.

June Hanke, a planner at the Harris County Hospital District, presented her work in mapping maternal and infant health data in Houston, comparing them to maps showing low-income and undocumented immigrant communities. Barnett followed by emphasizing the importance of putting data into pictures to convince policymakers to change the way services are provided to communities.

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Posted at 12:13 PM, Apr 10, 2010 in Cities
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