Guest Op-Ed: One healthy Brooklyn


Think of Brooklyn like you think of the human body, yours or mine. No single part can function on its own. The arms and legs need the brain, which in turn needs the heart, which in turn needs the other systems that keep it, and the rest of us, going. For our bodies to be truly healthy, our entire anatomy must be healthy.

That is how we must approach improving Brooklyn here at Borough Hall.

The communities of our borough are vibrant and diverse, as are their interests. This is our strength. But currently we are disparate, a collection of limbs that can act without coordination.

Brooklyn has hardworking experts, community leaders and everyday activists finding solutions to our borough’s local challenges. Unfortunately, we often see duplication of efforts, with multiple groups striving for the same goal but unaware of each other’s progress. Certain problems receive duplicated attention, while others fall below anyone’s radar.

The anatomy of Brooklyn must instead work in concert, and it must have a central nervous system to support its mission.

Borough Hall should serve as that central nervous system – relaying information, convening discussion and coordinating responses to support a healthy Brooklyn. It should be the one place ensuring all Brooklynites are covered, so that no person or community gets left behind.

Our solutions must connect and coalesce Brooklyn’s rich resources, fostering true collaboration.

For example, the health of our residents, more than half of whom are overweight and obese, requires better partnership between healthcare, social services, parks and schools, where childhood obesity can be first addressed.

Businesses draw on an educated, healthy and affordably housed workforce as they grow companies downtown and elsewhere, so they too can join in the relevant dialogues. Affordable housing advocates find their own causes affected and helped by increased transportation access.

Consolidating our knowledge and efforts will allow us to help distribute the benefits of our continued growth to all residents.

In a borough that is more diverse than ever—38 percent of our residents are foreign-born and more than 46 percent speak a language other than English at home—I look forward to standing as One Brooklyn.  This, I believe, be the key to a healthy borough for everybody and every body.

Eric Adams is Brooklyn borough president.

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