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Cities find new ways to assess, respond to service needs.

The Washington Post reported on July 7, 1993, "people are moving across international borders and from the countryside to the city in larger numbers than ever before."

This migratory trend puts that much more emphasis on the need for healthier cities, both at a global level and a national level. The influx of additional people on a city's services usually places a greater strain on an already strained system. Several U.S. cities are answering the increased calls for services with coordinated and comprehensive efforts to make their cities Healthy Cities.

These cities are finding assistance through several national organizations and programs. One organization, the Institute for Action Research for Community Health (IARCH), has developed an adaptable model, named CityNet, to assist cities in setting up a community leadership development approach to Healthy Cities. This approach allows for the cities, themselves, to be actively involved in assessing their own weaknesses and problems and then develop their own feasible solutions to those problems. The model also requires the commitment of the city's leadership, especially the mayor, in order for the model to be successful.

Examples of cities successfully using the CityNet model can be seen in the Indiana cities of Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, New Castle, and Seymour. Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Buffalo are among other cities that have adopted the CityNet model and are at various levels of program development.

Each city's adaptation of the model is unique. However, all take into account the need for the possible development of the following committee member categories: arts and culture; business; dentistry; education; employment; enviroment; finance; health department; hospital; public health association; local government; mayor's office; media; medical care; other health care; parks and recreation; planning and housing; population groups; religion; social services; transportation; and utilities and energy.

The city of Indianapolis, for example, discovered through various surveys, that one of their needs was the development of a subcommittee on the environment. This subcommittee issued sets of recommendations on Clean Air issues, a Residential Energy Conservation Program, and Urban Resource Conservation, all to be considered for use by the Environmental Master Plan being developed by the Indiana Healthy Cities project.

Fort Wayne discovered its community's needs through a series of "Our Town" Vision Workshops. Asked how they would like to envision Fort Wayne in the year 2000, participants identified areas concerned with preventative healthcare, the quality of the environment and constructive human relations.

IARCH is in the process of developing and marketing their CityNet Manual which will be available to cities who formally commit to the Healthy Cities program. This is an action manual, complete with adaptable surveys, slides, video tapes and local assessments. If you are interested in learning more about the CityNet Model and its participating cities, please contact Beverly Flynn or Melinda Rider at IARCH, Indiana School of Nursing, 1111 Middle Drive, NU236, Indianapolis, IN, 46202 or call (317) 274-3319. Other Healthy Cities Projects

The California Healthy Cities Project works with statewide projects involved in the Healthy Cities concept and provides technical consultation, sponsors educational programs and develops and distributes products and publications. One such recent publication is the Pasadena Quality of Life Index. For more information, please contact Gregory Shaffer, Local Program Development Specialist, California Healthy Cities Project, Health Promotion Section, P.O. Box 942732, Sacramento, CA 94234-7320, (916) 327-7017.

The National Civic League, in conjunction with the Healthcare Forum Leadership Center, provides cities with a Healthier Communities Action Kit which assists cities in setting up community-wide efforts for improving community health status. For more information contact either The Healthcare Forum, 830 Market Street, San Fransisco, CA, 94102, (415) 421-8810 or The National Civic League, 1445 Market Street, Suite 300, Denver, CO, 80202-1728, (303) 571-4343.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Price, Erica J.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jul 12, 1993
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