Article

Daily Does 719: 2021 Honor Award - Journalism

by Hannah Van Nimwegen, AICP

The Daily Dose 719 is an ongoing video series that chronicles challenges faced by residents of Southeast Colorado Springs. Julie Ramirez, a southeast resident, produces the Daily Dose 719 video series along with Trenton Cotton of Formative Studios (a former resident of the southeast). Southeast Colorado Springs has a rough reputation brought about by years of bleak statistics. Most remarkable is the recognized disparity in life expectancy between neighborhoods of Southeast Colorado Springs and other neighborhoods just a few miles away. Each video focuses on a topic which influences individual and community health.

After decades of disinvestment and underrepresentation, Southeast Colorado Springs is seeing the beginnings of a reawakening largely spurred by area locals organizing for change. The Daily Dose 719 is a part of this grassroots resurgence and is a key component to the area’s advocacy for resources. Partnering with the Colorado Equity Compass, the Daily Dose 719 provides a resident-lead lens to such issues, encouraging each other to participate in local planning processes and promoting specific opportunities to do so.

In this way, the Daily Dose 719 builds a very important bridge between community members of the affected area and local and regional governments.

The Daily Dose 719 humanizes the numbers and data trends, reminding everyone of the people’s power to affect change, and putting faces with the early revitalization efforts. Six episodes of the Daily Dose 719 are currently published and cover topics of a high degree of importance to the planning profession and to Colorado specifically. The topics range from health equity, housing affordability, redlining, gentrification, generational neighborhood identity, infill, education, criminal justice, and economic disinvestment and reinvestment. Ramirez opens the series by describing her experiences growing up in the area and her realization that these health, socioeconomic, and public investment inequalities exist. Particularly, she presents a startling data point that residents of north Colorado Springs neighborhood have a life expectancy of 86.2 years, while individuals of her neighborhood have a life expectancy of 72.2 years. In later episodes, the Daily Dose 719 discusses social and economic inequalities experienced by southeast residents while also highlighting success stories of homeownership, small wins against gentrification, and new small businesses fighting the high commercial vacancy rates.

Health and social equity are a deserved focus of the American Planning Association and healthy community, equity, diversity, and inclusion planning are a growing best practice in the profession. However, it’s a different hurdle communicating them to the public in a way that is engaging. The Daily Dose 719 is a valuable bridge to increasing visibility of these important topics in a way that is not only engaging, but as a resident-lead project, adds validity to hard-to-reach segments of the community.
 

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