Thriving Natural World: Environment & Infrastructure

Photo by Thomas Richter

How can a community’s environment create well-being? It has to do with whether streets are designed to be safe and enjoyable for those who are walking or biking. It is about the air and water being safe to breathe and drink. It is about having infrastructure like broadband internet to connect people to opportunities. It has to do with the way places and conditions are designed to promote the health and well-being of its residents. It is also about whether there are structures and policies in place, historical or current, that means that people in some neighborhoods may not have a fair chance to thrive.

Other Interesting Measures


  • Number of days per year air was rated unhealthy for ozone (#). Source: CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking Network.
  • Relative disparity in pollution exposure, index ranges 0-100, with 100 being more disparity; includes white vs. Hispanic, black & other. Source: EPA.


  • Percent of population covered by comprehensive smoke-free indoor air laws by state. Source: CDC State System & Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Survey.
  • Presence of lead levels above safe limits in drinking water (0 = no presence, 1= presence). Source: EPA.
  • Percent of population within 0.5 mile of walkable destinations. Source: EPA.


  • Distressed Communities Index (0-100). Source: Economic Innovation Group.
  • Area Deprivation Index (0-10). Source: Health Innovation Program.
  • Number of liquor stores per population or Census Tract. Source: To be developed.