Place Matters

An African American child living in Oakland’s flatlands will die, on average, 15 years before a Caucasian child living in the City’s most affluent area – the Oakland hills.

Where we live, our race, our income shapes how long we live. Children do not choose to grow up in neighborhoods with no grocery stores, closed parks and struggling schools. The lack of opportunities for good health in some neighborhoods is rooted in persistent injustices shaped by a legacy of segregation, widespread disinvestment in communities of color, and exclusion of people of color from decision making venues. And so, the difference of a couple of miles, the color of their skin, and poverty level adds up to 15 years of life. And from what we can tell, this difference is increasing.

We envision an Alameda County where all children, no matter where they live, how much money their parents make, or the color of their skin, have access to the same opportunities to lead a healthy, fulfilling and productive life. Achieving health equity requires an integrated approach spanning all government sectors and in collaboration with community. More information about why place matters and what we can do about it >>

The Alameda County Place Matters Team

The Alameda County Place Matters Team recognizes that our environment – social, economic, political, built – shapes us. Therefore, we focus on what shapes the environment: policy. We are working for equity in: education, economics, criminal justice, housing, land use, and transportation. We work collaboratively with multiple sectors and community-based organizations to advance health equity. We frame key policy issues through the lens of health equity, and provide analysis of emerging policy areas where this perspective is overtly absent. Place Matters supports the good work already in progress at the community level, and avoids duplication of effort through robust and proactive community collaboration.

In March 2009, we launched five issue workgroups listed below (click on the links below for more information).

We launched our Local Policy Platform and Local Policy Agenda in the fall 2010! These documents are the result of over a year of gathering information and input from residents, community groups, and other government agencies. Each workgroup is currently partnering with these same stakeholders to move the Local Policy Agenda forward.

  • Local Policy Platform: Our Policy Platform communicates our long-term vision in each policy area.
  • Local Policy Agenda: Our Policy Agenda is our short-term road map for achieving this vision built on evidence-based and community-driven criteria.

If you are interested in more information about our Agenda or Platform and how they were created, or would like to help move these issues forward, please contact us. For workgroup contact information, click here, or contact Dr. Muntu Davis at 510-267-8010 or

In addition to our Local Policy Agenda, Place Matters continues to partner with community groups and government agencies to respond to emerging issues. If your community or agency would like to know the health equity impacts of a decision you are making, please contact us for help.

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