Atlanta — Sep 23, 2020
The Atlanta Regional Commission board today adopted the Live Beyond Expectations regional strategic plan, which aims to identify and address the inequities that create disparities in life expectancy in metro Atlanta.
The five-year plan was developed to support ARC’s long-range vision that all metro Atlantans should be able to lead long and healthy lives, no matter where they live. To move the plan forward, ARC will engage with stakeholders at the regional, state, and national levels to strengthen partnerships, develop new relationships, and marshal new and existing resources.
In metro Atlanta, ZIP codes tell a tale of inequity. Someone who lives in the 30339 ZIP code, which includes Sandy Springs and Vinings, can expect to live an average of 25 years longer than someone just 7 miles away in the 30314 ZIP code, which includes parts of Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood. Discrepancies can be found within every county in the region.
While factors such as genetics, diet, and exercise play a role in determining lifespan, research suggests that the strong ties between one’s community and life expectancy are rooted in a complex mix of issues — including the economic, social, and physical conditions in the environments in which people spend their lives. These include issues like stable housing, safe neighborhoods, and access to healthy food.
About the Plan
Taking a careful, deliberate approach rooted in data and research, ARC will spend the next year developing relationships with key community partners, identifying key areas of focus, and establishing evaluation techniques. In years two through five, the agency will work with partners to carry out strategies to address disparities related to:
- Place – Focus on locations, within each of the region’s 10 counties, where residents experience the most inequity
- Policy – Change systems and structures that create inequities and advance policies that promote equity
- Practice – Provide services and programs that address unmet needs
Reducing life expectancy discrepancies is a long-range goal that ARC is uniquely positioned to take on. As the federally designated Area Agency on Aging for metro Atlanta’s 10 counties, ARC is responsible for planning, advocacy, and service delivery systems that are designed to support quality of life for older adults. In addition, the agency has a deep reserve of resources, including research and data analysis and community planning in transportation, housing, arts, and employment sectors. Finally, the agency has community partners already engaged in related work.
“We cannot truly succeed as a region when something as important as lifespan is determined by someone’s ZIP code,” said Becky Kurtz, managing director of ARC’s Aging and Independence Services. “ARC’s Live Beyond Expectations strategic plan provides a carefully crafted roadmap to address key factors that create inequities and help make the Atlanta region a place where everyone can achieve a high quality of life.”
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 73 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention, and planning resources on key regional issues.
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