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Equitable Access & Proximity to Foundational Community Assets

Disparities between proximity and access to foundational community assets, such as parks, quality schools, libraries, and public transit, is often a function of whose interests were represented in past decision-making processes. Increasing... Read More

Disparities between proximity and access to foundational community assets, such as parks, quality schools, libraries, and public transit, is often a function of whose interests were represented in past decision-making processes. Increasing inclusive decision-making contributes to more evenness in foundational community assets, which in turn reduces incidents where children inherit conditions leading to negative health, education, and/or economic outcomes.

According to PolicyLink’s Equitable Development Toolkit, equitable access to facilities, services, and infrastructure results from strategies intentionally aimed at ensuring that all community members “participate in and benefit from decisions that shape their neighborhoods and regions.” Communities can work together to decide where to invest and expand benefits, where to establish new facilities, and how to improve services to assure they are more evenly distributed to best serve the population’s needs. This indicator identifies and assesses access to foundational community assets amongst neighborhoods and populations. Data is collected locally.

Devens, Massachusetts

Devens redevelopment is fairly compact but as we are not a formal community, the proximity to local services is an area that we will continue to track and improve on. In 2017, we launched an expanded public transit service which connects more businesses and residents to Devens and the surrounding... Read More

Devens redevelopment is fairly compact but as we are not a formal community, the proximity to local services is an area that we will continue to track and improve on. In 2017, we launched an expanded public transit service which connects more businesses and residents to Devens and the surrounding communities and the services they provide - including the MBTA commuter rail with service to Boston and Fitchburg, Nashoba Valley Medical Center, Shirley Public Library and many other services. Devens is home to a number of social services such as housing for homeless veterans and single mothers, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Shriver Job Corps Training Center for at-risk youth, and child and adult daycare and education facilities. Devens has great access to its over 1400 acres of protected open space, 13 miles of trails, and active recreation fields. Devens is beginning to work with the surrounding towns to explore the possibility of a regional farmers market on Devens which would provide local residents better access to healthy foods. Devens has also developed a street tree planting and repalcement program to help increase our tree canopy cover. This combined with our local tree preservation regulations and education and awareness campaign on the social, economic and environmental value and importance of trees, is leading to a more robust tree canopy in Devens.

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