Windshield Survey Assignment

Sample Essay:

Windshield Survey

Community Description

Linden Hills community, established in 1880, was designed to expand the boundaries of Minneapolis city and attract homebuyers looking for a more comfortable living environment near the lakes Calhoun and Harriet (, 2011). Over the years, Linden Hills has become one of the most recognizable and admired communities in Minneapolis, known for its modest-sized authentic homes, close proximity to lakes and entertainment, commercial district, numerous parks, and abundant shade trees. Although the population of Linden Hills has remained relatively stable over the past 40 years, the community continues to attract new businesses and is considered a favorable place for growth. The downtown area of Linden Hills is currently undergoing construction work. Despite the ongoing changes, Linden Hills retains its family-friendly atmosphere. Lake Harriet, a prominent feature of the community, offers two cozy beaches, bike and hiking trails, and a Bandshell that hosts various performances during the summer.

Boundaries and Topography

Linden Hills is conveniently situated in southwest Minneapolis between the lakes Calhoun and Harriet. The community is bounded by 36th Street West and Lake Calhoun to the north, William Berry Drive and Lake Harriet to the east, 47th Street West to the south, and France Avenue to the west, which marks the city limit (, 2011). The community derived its name from the hilly streets lined with Linden trees.


Linden Hills, located in the center of North America as part of Minneapolis, experiences a wide range of temperatures. The area is known for its extreme temperature variations throughout the year. During the winter months (December, January, February), cold air from Canada dominates, resulting in average temperatures ranging from 7.5°F to 38.9°F. In the summer months (June, July, August), high humidity and temperatures prevail, with average ranges from 58.8°F to 83.4°F.

Weather conditions in Minnesota, including the Minneapolis area, make residents more susceptible to seasonal allergies, flu, and cold outbreaks. Educational initiatives to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses are implemented in schools and public places through the use of posters. Additionally, residents are at risk of tickborne diseases during the first half of summer. Precautions, such as avoiding bushy areas and using DEET repellents, are recommended to prevent tick bites (MN Department of Health, 2017).

Environmental Quality

While the proximity to the city offers convenience to Linden Hills residents, it also impacts the environmental quality of the area. The community ranks in the 70-80th percentile for total environmental releases, including air and water releases that have the potential to be carcinogenic. The non-cancer risk score for air and water releases falls within the 80-90th percentile. Air and water pollutants containing recognized carcinogens and developmental toxicants are found at their highest levels (up to 100%), while reproductive toxicants range from the 70th to 80th percentile.

The overall quality of water in Linden Hills is rated at 30-40%. Approximately 5% of surface waters in the area are impaired or threatened. The ability of aquatic life to thrive is ranked at 70%, while the safety of swimming in Scott County’s waters is ranked at 30%. Hazardous chemicals found in the area include methanol, glycol ethers, xylene, n-butyl alcohol, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, ethylbenzene, ammonia, and nickel.

Regarding air pollution, Linden Hills ranks among the top 90-100% of the dirtiest U.S. counties in terms of carbon monoxide, nitrogen, PM-2.5, PM-10, and sulfur dioxide emissions. Approximately 79% of days in Linden Hills are considered to have good air quality, while the remaining 21% have moderate air quality.

Two percent of houses in Linden Hills still pose a high risk of lead hazards. Efforts have been made to prevent lead contamination, including regulations requiring certified contractors and rental property owners to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination during renovation, repair, and painting projects in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 (, 2017).

The low environmental quality negatively impacts the health of residents, with 9.4% of adults reporting fair or poor health. Other health conditions prevalent in the community include hypertension (16.8%), diabetes (5.3%), heart disease or stroke (4.9%), and high cholesterol (32.4%). Among children, 88.4% are considered healthy, while 10.6% have serious health conditions (Hennepin County Minnesota, 2017). Despite the challenges posed by air pollution from nearby factories in Minneapolis, the Linden Hills community takes pride in maintaining its lands. Lakes and parks are kept exceptionally clean by a team of full-time year-round maintenance staff. Healthy lifestyle practices are promoted, with several yoga studios, fitness centers, and a community center with a swimming pool. Residents heavily utilize biking, hiking, and walking trails around the lakes throughout the year. The Linden Hills Co-op offers a wide selection of healthy food options.

In conclusion, Linden Hills is a community known for its authentic homes, proximity to lakes and entertainment, commercial district, parks, and shade trees. The area faces environmental challenges due to its proximity to the city and industrial centers, resulting in compromised air and water quality. Efforts to address these issues and improve the health and well-being of residents are ongoing.


Windshield Survey Assignment
• Begin Windshield Survey. Please take your time and be thorough!
You will use the Healthy People 2020 Goals to organize, manage, and evaluate the development of evidence-based intervention strategies that will focus on the environmental, social and economic conditions to promote healthy communities. The survey may be conducted in any community- perhaps a community other than the community in which you live. You will present your findings in a Voice Thread. The following are guidelines for the survey.
PART I (2 pages)
Select a community to drive through to perform a “windshield” survey.” See description under Part II to assist your drive. (The community of focus is Nashua city {in New Hampshire})

• Gather statistics related to the community.
 Demographics (age, race, sex ethnicity),
 Socioeconomic status
 Health statistics (mortality, morbidity, leading causes of death, births).
• Select one area of concern and develop a plan for meeting the health needs of the community.
• Identify both strengths and weaknesses of the community.
• Address primary, secondary and tertiary prevention as it relates to meeting the health needs of the community. (Be specific.)
• Contact Health Officer or other Public Health associate (think Public Health Nurse, Community Police officer) for community and interview him/her regarding community issues/concerns.
• Attach an annotated bibliography including all web sites and articles used.
• Note individuals with names, agencies and phone numbers that you contacted.
1. Housing and zoning
• What is the age of the houses, architecture?
• Of what materials are the houses and buildings constructed from?
• Are all neighborhood houses similar in age, architecture?
• How would you characterize the differences?
• Are they detached or connected to others?
• Do they have space in front or behind?
• What is their general condition?
• Are there signs of disrepair – broken doors, windows, leaks, locks missing?
• Is there central heating, modern plumbing, air conditioning?
2. Open Space
• How much open space is there?
• What is the quality of the space – green parks or rubble-filled lots?
• What is the lot size of the houses? Lawns? Flower boxes?
• Do you see trees on the pavements, a green island in the center of the streets?
• Is the open space public or private. Used by whom?
3. Boundaries
• What signs are there of where this neighborhood begins and ends?
• Are the boundaries natural – a river, a different terrain; physical – a highway, railroad; economic – differences in real estate or presence of industrial or commercial units along with residential?
• Does the neighborhood have an identity, a name? Do you see it displayed? Are there unofficial names?
4. Commons
• What are the neighborhood hangouts? For what groups, at what hours (e.g., schoolyard, candy store, bar, restaurant, park, 24-hour drugstore)?
• Does the “commons” area have a sense of territoriality,” or is it open to the stranger?
5. Transportation
• How do people get in and out of the neighborhood—car, bus, bike, walk, etc.?
• Are the streets and roads conducive to good transportation and also to community life?
• Is there a major high way near the neighborhood? Whom does it serve?
• How frequently is public transportation available?
6. Service centers
• Do you see social agencies, clients, recreation centers, signs of activity at the schools?
• Are there offices of doctors, dentists; palmists, spiritualists, etc.?
• Are there parks? Are they in use?
7. Stores
• Where do residents’ shop – shopping centers, neighborhood stores?
• How do they travel to shop?
8. Street People
• If you are traveling during the day, whom do you see on the street – an occasional housewife mother with a baby?
• Do you see any one you would not expect–teenagers, unemployed males?
• Can you spot a welfare worker, an insurance collector, a door-to-door salesman?
• Is the dress of those you see representative or unexpected?
• Along with people, what animals do you see – stray cats, pedigreed pets, “watch- dogs”?
9. Signs of Decay
• Is this neighborhood on the way up or down?
• Is it “alive”?
• How would you decide? Trash, abandoned cars, political posters, neighborhood-meeting posters, real estate signs, abandoned houses, mixed zoning usage?
10. Race
• Are the residents Caucasian, African-American, or of another minority, or is the area integrated?
11. Ethnicity
• Are the indices of ethnicity – food stores, churches, private schools, information in a language other than English?
12. Religion
• Of what religion are the residents?
• Do you see evidence of heterogeneity or homogeneity?
• What denominations are the churches?
• Do you see evidence of their use other than on Sunday mornings?
13. Health & Morbidity
• Do you see evidence of acute or of chronic diseases or conditions?
• Do you see evidence of accidents, communicable diseases, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, etc.?
• How far is it to the nearest hospital?
14. Politics
• Do you see any political campaign posters?
• Is there a headquarters present?
• Do you see an evidence of a predominant party affiliation?
15. Media
• Do you see outdoor satellite antennas?
• What magazines, newspapers do residents read?
• Do you see Forward Times, Hampton Post, Enquirer, Readers’ Digest in the stores?
• What media seem most important to the residents – radio, television, print, digital?
From Anderson ET, McFarlane J: Community as partner: Theory and practice in nursing. Philadelphia: 1996. J.B. Lippincott.

Conducting a windshield survey:


Demographics: Gather information on the age distribution, racial composition, sex, and ethnicity of the community. This information can be obtained from census data, local government websites, or public health departments.
Socioeconomic Status: Look for indicators of socioeconomic status such as income levels, housing conditions, employment rates, and educational facilities in the community.
Health Statistics: Gather information on mortality rates, morbidity rates, leading causes of death, and birth statistics in the community. This information can be obtained from local health departments, vital records, or health surveys.
Area of Concern: Identify one area of concern in the community that requires attention in terms of meeting the health needs of the residents. This could be a high prevalence of a specific disease, limited access to healthcare services, or a social determinant of health that negatively impacts the community.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the community in relation to health. For example, strengths could include access to recreational facilities or community engagement, while weaknesses could include limited access to healthy food options or high levels of pollution.
Prevention Strategies: Address primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies to meet the health needs of the community. Provide specific examples of interventions that can be implemented at each level of prevention, considering the identified area of concern.
Contact Health Officer or Public Health Associate: Reach out to the local health officer or other public health professionals to gather additional information about community issues and concerns. Conduct an interview to gain insights into the health challenges and ongoing initiatives in the community.
Annotated Bibliography: Compile an annotated bibliography of all the web resources, articles, and other references used for gathering information and conducting the survey. Include proper citations and annotations summarizing the relevance and content of each source.
This part involves observing and documenting specific aspects of the community during your drive. Consider the following components:

Housing and Zoning: Observe the age, architecture, materials used, condition, and types of houses and buildings in the community. Note any signs of disrepair or lack of amenities.
Open Space: Assess the amount and quality of open space in the community, including parks, vacant lots, and recreational areas. Note the size of residential lots, presence of trees, and public or private use of open spaces.
Boundaries: Identify the natural, physical, or economic boundaries that define the community. Look for signs, names, or unofficial identifiers that give the neighborhood its identity.
Commons: Observe and document common gathering places or hangouts in the community, such as schools, parks, stores, and recreational facilities. Note the sense of territoriality or openness to strangers in these areas.
Transportation: Assess the modes of transportation used by community members and the condition of streets and roads. Note the presence of major highways and the availability of public transportation.
Service Centers: Identify social agencies, recreation centers, schools, and healthcare facilities within the community. Observe signs of activity and usage in these areas.
Stores: Note the shopping patterns of residents, including whether they shop at shopping centers or neighborhood stores. Pay attention to how residents travel to these stores.
Street People: Observe the individuals present on the streets, including unexpected demographics or professionals in the area. Note the presence of animals, such as stray cats or pets.
Signs of Decay: Assess the overall condition of the neighborhood, noting signs of improvement or decline. Look for indications of political activity, real estate signs, or mixed zoning usage.
Race: Observe the racial composition of the residents in the community, noting if it is predominantly one race or if there is integration.
Ethnicity: Look for signs of ethnic diversity, such as food stores, churches, or information in languages other than English.
Religion: Note the religious affiliations of the residents and observe the presence and usage of churches or other places of worship.
Health & Morbidity: Observe any evidence of acute or chronic diseases, accidents, or other health-related conditions in the community. Take note of the proximity of the nearest hospital.
Politics: Look for political campaign posters, headquarters, or signs of a predominant party affiliation in the community.
Media: Observe the presence of outdoor satellite antennas, types of magazines or newspapers available in stores, and the importance of different media sources to residents (radio, television, print, digital).

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