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Greening from the Ground Up: A Health Impact Assessment of the Lawrence Green Streets Program

When it comes to green infrastructure, how do you measure success? Are performance metrics such as volume of water captured or amount of pollutant removed per dollar spent on construction the only things that matter? Or are the more intangible benefits – such as health – just as important for our communities?

In late 2015, the American Planning Association’s Sustainable Communities Division (APA-SCD) partnered with Groundwork Lawrence (GWL) on a volunteer service project to measure the health benefits of the “Green Streets Program,” an initiative in Lawrence, Massachusetts that aims to increase the tree canopy in the city by planting trees that are provided to residents and property owners at no cost. This Health Impact Assessment (HIA) analyzed the the economic, social, and environmental benefits of street trees and included research, community engagement, assessment, recommendations, and a set of deliverables that include many education, assessment, and awareness tools.

To share a little bit about this process, Nitsch Engineering is proud to be producing “Greening from the Ground Up,” a documentary short film that showcases the impact the project has had on the community, and inspires other cities, towns, and communities to plan and create healthy, vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable communities for all. This 12-minute film was created in partnership with GWL, APA-SCD, and the APA Massachusetts Chapter. Stay tuned for more information about this film, which will be released soon!

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