Planning In Context – Supporting Healthy Choices

Qualicum Bike PathThe built environment sets the context for how we live and play.  Rita and I have blogged many times about our own experiences and the types of environments that allow us to make healthy decisions or not. My community is really pretty good (although, it can always get better…). I live in Vancouver, where I can walk to local shops and services with relative ease, and cycling is well supported by the grid system and increasing numbers of bike routes and lanes.

But the context in other communities is not always as easily adaptable, and there are some citizens of Vancouver who have a much harder time navigating our streets with strollers, walkers or wheelchairs.

I had the privilege of attending Fraser Health’s Healthy Living Trade Show in Langley last month. There, I found out about some of the great work that’s going on in other communities to support healthier choices. We will be hearing from three BC communities in our webinar on June 20th – and you can too.

City of Burnaby planners, Margaret Manifold and Ian Wasson, will be discussing access and mobility.  They brought engineers and community members together to walk the streets in two Burnaby neighbourhoods to discuss where improvements could be made. The MAP Edmonds project happened a couple years back, but they are MAPping Cascade Heights this week! Kelly Cameron is creating great partnerships between the district, recreation groups and families to promote new users to Mission’s interpretive forest and its trails. Mission is committed to becoming the walking capital of the Fraser Valley, with 16 major walking trails and 150 kilometers of walking space. Take a sneak peek at families biking in Mission’s forest on this YouTube clip.

The Town of Qualicum Beach was recently recognized for its Sustainability Plan.  I walked one of their bike paths a couple years back with planner, Luke Sales and got a sense of his commitment to increasing opportunities for walking and cycling in his community. Luke will outline his plan to improve active transportation for people of all ages, including the Qualicum Cycling Plan and the upcoming Waterfront Master Plan.

There are some great ideas in BC about how to work within the context of our communities to increase our healthy choices – come join the conversation and bring your own examples of how to plan in context.

Samantha Hartley-Folz
Manager, Programs and Policy
June 2013

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