Trying to Create a Healthy, Healing City in the Case of Shreveport, Louisiana

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A citizen coalition seeks to transform its city, from one plagued with racism, poverty, unemployment, crime, illness, obesity, and illiteracy, into a city that can heal itself. Using technologies in innovative ways, the coalition hopes to create an environment that facilitates physical exercise, social interaction, and mutual support. Specifically, that environment would stimulate walking and other alternative forms of transportation; facilitate interaction between people of diverse communities; provide access to knowledge for achieving health, success, and autonomy; and facilitate treatment of the physical, psychological, and social disorders that have emerged from an environment that has lacked these conditions to this point. Specific goals of the coalition are trying to convert a system of drainage ditches into a network of pedestrian/bike trails; revitalize the downtown by subsidizing the entry of "big box retail"; found a system of neighborhood centers and after-school programs that draws strictly from the resources low income neighborhoods, while also encouraging partnerships with more advantaged groups and organizations; and excavate and honor a buried history of struggle against discrimination to inform and inspire city residents of the levels of achievement that are possible for all in their community. The coalition has attempted to get help and advice from outside Shreveport using the internet (posting to newsgroups, blogging, posting pictures, sketches, maps, and videos), with some success. It also sees each of their specific goals as best implemented through web-based technologies in various ways. Leaders of the workshop will facilitate discussion of coalition's work, especially dilemmas and challenges that have emerged, and will solicit strategies for overcoming them. Members of the coalition are eager to use this workshop as a means of getting feedback and advice from professionals with diverse perspectives and disparate fields of technical expertise.

Keywords: Community Health, Internet, Social Inequality, Transportation, Alternative Technologies
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Loren Demerath

Associate Professor of Sociology, and Chair of Department, Department of Sociology, Centenary College of Louisiana
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

Primary interests are in how technology can inhibit or facilitate social interaction. Also interested in how technology can be used for ease instead of fulfillment, particularly in consumerist cultures. Has published a theory of how culture is a product of our aesthetic enjoyment of creating shared meaning and culture in the course of interaction. Has also published a cross-cultural study that suggests people in societies with strong institutional "technologies" that facilitate individual achievement tend to have relatively poor everyday social lives, while societies with weak, often corrupt organizations, tend to have fuller, more enjoyable social lives.

Jon Soul

Environmental Awareness Consultant, Shreveport Green
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

Dr. Chantal Rivera

Assistant Professor of Physiology, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, LSU Health Sciences Center
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

Research in my laboratory focuses on 1) establishment of an adolescent obesity related desease model based on dietary manipulations to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the progression of obesity related deseases; and 2). Using intravital microscopy to examine the obesity-associated inflammatory response in the mesentery, abdominal adipose tissue and liver. I have also been involved in Community Health education, and have recently written and produced a series of videos in that effort.

Ref: T08P0286