Bringing Alabama out of the bottom in national health rankings isn’t going to be an easy task. To be successful, we will need to develop a sustainable and comprehensive plan that can be rolled out to cities across Alabama. First, to test the effectiveness of this plan, we have established Demonstration Areas. These areas are made up of communities across the Birmingham area including Bush Hills, East Lake, Kingston, Titusville, and the UAB campus.

Click one of the communities below to learn more about its history, conditions, and the work being done.

Demonstration Areas v2

 

About Our Communities

  • Bush Hills
    Conveniently located between downtown Ensley and downtown Birmingham lies the small community of Bush Hills. Jemison & Company’s original plans for the neighborhood were based around convenience: close to schools such as Simpson High School and Birmingham Southern College, and close to the mills in Ensley.

    With the goal of enhancing the suburbian charm while also creating a unique environment, Bush Hills is full of homes with varying architectural styles. Taking a drive down Bush Blvd today will display the houses that have set Bush Hills apart from the rest for years.

    The neighborhood was faced with challenges in the 1970s, when the population began to decrease. As of 2021, just over 4,200 residents call Bush Hills home — many of whom can feel the effects of the neighborhood’s decline.

    An issue within the community is a lack of resources: healthy foods, restaurants with nutritious options, and proper wellness education.

    With the help of the community and our partners, Live HealthSmart Alabama is working to meet the needs of Bush Hills. Beginning with a mobile produce market and nutritious-food guidance, the neighborhood of Bush Hills can begin to take steps toward leading a healthier life.

    The hope for the future of Bush Hills comes from those who have invested in the neighborhood for decades — its resilient community members.

    References - https://thebirminghambuff.com/2018/11/05/30-birmingham-neighborhoods-in-30-days-bush-hills/
  • East Lake
    Beginning with it’s fruition in 1886, East Lake was a place for locals to escape to. The original plans for the neighborhood, created by the East Lake Land Company, focused on a fun, light environment for iron ore miners to live in, and for Alabama residents to travel to.

    Within the neighborhood was East Lake Park, a family-friendly spot that included a zoo, Ferris wheel, fishing, and boat rides.

    Fast forward a few years later, and due to the invention of the assembly line and popularization of cars, the neighborhood of East Lake was soon in the rearview mirror of frequent visitors.

    That was, however, until 1917 when the City of Birmingham purchased the park and decided to play on its recreational charm. Today, it is one of the largest municipal recreational facilities in Alabama.

    Needless to say, East Lake was originally designed to get folks outside and moving, and that is still its main purpose today. With just over 3,300 current residents, Live HealthSmart Alabama’s goal is to help East Lake build on its original mission while also guiding the community to dive even deeper into living a healthy lifestyle.

    With tools to access fresh produce such as the Mobile Market, and education on ways to utilize the gorgeous park that has served the community for years, East Lake has the goal of once again becoming a getaway spot for those inside and nearby.

    References - https://www.bhamwiki.com/w/East_Lake_Park
  • Kingston
    In an area nestled between Avondale and Woodlawn—divided by I-20/I-59—is a community that is often forgotten. Kingston, a neighborhood named after 1800’s Birmingham resident, attorney, and early settler, Peyton King.

    In the 1950s, Kingston became the location of housing project, Rev. Dr. Morrell Todd Homes Village (formerly known as Morton Simpson Village), which accommodates 7,000 residents. Three schools were built to serve the children of Kingston: Dupuy Elementary School, Gibson Elementary School, and Kingston Elementary School.

    Over time, as the population within the neighborhood declined—forcing businesses, schools, and health care locations to close. Of the schools mentioned above, only one is operational today, Dupuy Alternative School. Kids who don’t attend Dupuy make the commute to Hays K-8 in Avondale. This journey to school includes crossing train tracks—a task that can be especially dangerous for those without transportation.

    Furthermore, without access to fresh produce in a local grocery store or with limited access to healthcare, residents depend on non-profit agencies and public funds to address the needs of the community.

    As one of the Grand Challenge demonstration zones, Live HealthSmart Alabama developed a comprehensive plan to improve the health of Kingston’s residents.

    Joining forces with Kingston residents, neighborhood association and local businesses, we are creating a sustainable model of community improvement—using everything from a mobile food market and mobile wellness van to changes in the environment that improve safety, increase neighborhood walkability, and beautify the community.


    References- https://www.bhamwiki.com/w/Peyton_King
  • Titusville
    Titusville, one of the first neighborhoods where Black/African Americans could own commercial or residential property, has had a long history filled with culture and community. Prior to its current name (until 1970), the community was known as South Elyton and was home to Alice Furnace, one of the first blast furnaces in Birmingham. Industry in the area, combined with its proximity to the city, paved the way for it to be the location of Birmingham’s first airport.

    In the early 1900s, Alice Furnace began to close parts of its operation and by 1940, it was inoperable. As industry began to develop in other parts of Birmingham, and the country, Titusville saw a steep decline in residents and an increase of vacant houses.

    In the 1960s, Titusville became the location of many key civil rights movements. The most famous of which was the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Over the years, respected African Americans such as Wallace Rayfield, William Bell, and Condoleezza Rice, have all called Titusville home.

    Even with a history of heroism and strength, the effects of population migration are still being felt in the community. For current residents, this means a lack of healthcare and access to fresh, healthy foods.

    Over the past 30 years, companies such as the Titusville Development Corporation have been serving members of their community with affordable housing, food pantries, GED, job readiness programs, and more. Aligned with the goal of helping Titusville, Live HealthSmart Alabama has formed a strategic partnership with TDC to revitalize the neighborhood.

    We, along with our partners, are working to bring increased access to prevention and wellness, physical activity, and healthy eating back to Titusville. And, with changes in the built environment, we hope to make Titusville a safer place while reducing health disparities via a mobile wellness van and mobile food market in the neighborhood.

    As a community rooted in leadership, Titusville is ready to show how the courage of the past, will forge its future.

    Resources- https://bhamnow.com/2019/09/09/7-things-to-love-about-birminghams-titusville-community-including-dc-blox/

 

Photos

Bush Hills

 

East Lake

 

Kingston

 

Titusville