How Fit is Your City, Town or Village?

It’s so invigorating to hear fresh perspectives especially when they are accompanied by solid real-life examples. I love getting the details from communities about what they are doing to promote health. That is part of the reason BCAHL promotes our webinar series – to provide a platform for communities and other groups to share their ideas. For those who missed out, check here to listen to the highlights from District of Mission, City of Burnaby and Town of Qualicum Beach.

On Monday, June 24th I got some details from a really big community – New York City. They hosted a day-long event, FitCity8: Promoting Physical Activity Through Design, which showcased some of the initiatives rolling out in their neighbourhoods using the Active Design Guidelines. The event was ‘livestreamed’ so I had the event playing in the background throughout the day. My takeaway from the day was that whether large or small, initiatives succeed when they are supported by community members and that by building to an individual scale people can be drawn into activity.

Highlights included the Arbor House Development which includes healthy design in social housing. Using the Active Design Guidelines, emphasis was placed on clean air inside the building and promoting physical activity through fitness centres (both indoor and outdoor) as well as putting the stairwells front and centre in the building design (the elevators are tucked around the corner). They also use art and light to make using the stairs more pleasurable.

The event also showcased the incorporation of community into NYC’s work, community developers were engaged in the process, and community advocates brought their ideas to the fore on how to engage communities better in greenspaces and housing re-design.

Creating supportive environments for health doesn’t just happen. But by focusing our attention on success stories, wherever they come from, is just one of the ways we can create a vision of what’s possible, in order to improve our own communities.

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