Assessing an Effort to Promote Safe Parks, Streets and Schools in Washington Heights/Inwood

Assessing urban infrastructure conditions as determinants of physical activity

Researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University prepared a case study of CODES (Community Outreach and Development Efforts Save). CODES is a coalition of 35 people and organizations in northern Manhattan committed to promoting safe streets, parks and schools.

The case study analyzed the factors that prompted CODES' creation and implementation and the tensions that led to its demise.

Key Findings:

  • CODES demonstrated successes in:
    • Quickly mobilizing residents and leaders in a concerted effort to keep their neighborhood safe.
    • Promoting and demonstrating leadership among Dominican people who suffer from negative stereotypes.
  • CODES' successes were diminished by:
    • Member agencies' beliefs that the local City Council member's office exerted too much control and made unilateral decisions.
    • Time and resource demands placed on overburdened agencies and people.

This project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Active Living Research program. The program funds research that improves knowledge and policies regarding ways that environmental factors affect physical activity, especially for children.