Oasis on Ballou Mixed-Use Development

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Health Impact Project

This HIA, conducted by Health Resources in Action, examined the impacts of a proposed multi-use development of land parcels in Boston’s Dorchester Codman Square neighborhood. The Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (CSNDC) was considering potential uses of the adjacent land parcels at 100 Ballou Avenue. The HIA examined the potential uses of the parcels as they related to impacts to chronic health conditions like obesity and heart disease, mental health, and rates of injury. The HIA determined that the proposed development of a tot lot, teaching and production gardens, and a learning and teaching kitchen would have positive impacts on health. In particular, the development would likely improve physical activity, social interaction, and social cohesion. The HIA also provided recommendations to the CSNDC to improve development of the lots, including:

  • Use Active Design principles for the Tot Lot to promote physical activity and social interaction
  • Install safe ground cover for the Tot Lot to prevent injuries
  • Make raised garden beds to avoid growing food in contaminated soil
  • Partner with local gardening and cooking organizations to learn best practices and hold events/programs to promote social interactions

The HIA also included recommendations for ongoing monitoring of the site.

This HIA was supported through funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health through the Centers for Disease Control Health Community Design Initiative.


This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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