UW Public Health Students Release Little Brook Study

After knocking on 130 doors and conducting 43 conversations with residents —and logging a total of 150 conversations with residents, businesses, and other stake holders— UW Public Health students have outlined key components for an “ideal community” in Little Brook.

Little Brook is in the northernmost region of Lake City, spanning 30th Ave NE to Lake City Way from NE 135-145th.

The month-long study was commissioned from students of University of Washington Public Health by the Lake City Greenways project in order to discover barriers to connecting the Little Brook Neighborhood to future proposed Lake City Greenways projects.

Our outreach efforts included interviews with key contacts within the community, door-to-door canvassing, connecting with apartment managers, and talking with residents in common gathering places. We utilized a short, 5-item questionnaire and mapping tools to understand many aspects of life in Little Brook.

Major findings, Insufficient physical and social connections within Little Brook and between Little Brook and the greater Lake City community are fundamental issues that need to be understood and addressed. To a large degree, these issues undermine the health of Little Brook residents and the efficacy of Lake City Greenways.

They identified three primary areas of concern to residents,

  • Crime and Road Safety
  • Public and Private Investment
  • Social Cohesion
Perceptions of Public Safety,

Safety was a ubiquitous topic, with 21 people reporting feeling generally safe in Little Brook while 33 reported feeling unsafe. [...] We encourage a future, open discussion of safety with local police officers and residents of the community.

Roadways and Pedestrian Safety,

Many locations surrounding Little Brook Park were noted to be areas of concern, as well as the busy roadways on 30th Ave NE and Lake City Way. Additionally, 33 people stated the neighborhood needs sidewalks and nearly half of all respondents reported poor or lacking conditions for pedestrians.

Public and Private Investment,

In general, residents expressed feeling neglected by public organizations. They felt little was known about conditions in Little Brook, and littered, cluttered roadways contributed to a sense of the neighborhood being dirty.

Social Cohesion,

Our primary recommendation is centered on developing social cohesion through intentional efforts to develop leadership and gather people for a purpose. We found few examples of informal leadership in the community during our outreach.

Moving forward,

When asked of their ideal vision of Little Brook, the most common answer had to do with community cohesion – neighbors being friends who spend time with each other. Many ideas for community cohesion came directly from residents, including increasing green space, park activities, and community artwork.

Lake City should extend a big thank you to these UW Public Health students and Janine Blaeloch of the Lake City Greenways Project for the invaluable information this study provides. With it in hand, community organizers can lobby our representatives in city (and even state levels, SR 522) to help improve roadways, find resources for building community infrastructure, and work towards a cleaner-safer-more connected North Lake City.

If you reside in the Little Brook neighborhood and would like to learn more about community building, you can get in touch with Lisa Chan (North Lake City Neighbors, South Little Brook) or Muriel Lawty (Little Brook) about current and future community organizing efforts.

Resources: Connecting the Little Brook Neighborhood to Lake City Greenways – Ashraf Amlani, Patricia Atwater, Sara Colling, Erik Friedrichsen, Linday Van Nostrand, Tiffany Sin, Jenna Udren, and Angela Wood. Community-Oriented Public Health Practice, 2013 University of Washington Public Health - Executive Summary - Full Report