Issues & AdvocacyPublic Policy
High Line Park, Falcone Flyover, in New York City; photo by Iwan Baan
Local Leaders: Healthier Communities Through Design
By Tatyana Brown, Manager, Public Policy
Architects are indispensable partners in local governments’ efforts to improve public health. To be soon released at GOVERNING’s Summit on Healthy Living this December 11, 2012, the AIA’s new publication Local Leaders: Healthier Communities Through Design will add to the resources available to design professionals, government leaders, and other stakeholders working to strengthen their communities.
After decades of sprawling development, America faces epidemic obesity and an emerging health crisis: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that chronic diseases are now the leading cause of death and disability as a result of inadequate nutrition, lack of physical activity, and environmental pollution. However, a community designed for exercise can prevent 90 percent of type two diabetes – as well as 50 percent of heart disease, site-specific cancers, and strokes (Journal of Applied Physiology, 2005). Better buildings and neighborhoods offer a comprehensive, cost-effective solution – as well as stimulate economic growth.
Design for health is the rapidly approaching future of the architecture profession. Across the cities profiled, architects are collaborating with a broad range of stakeholder to foster city-wide conversations and make healthier choices easy to make. The case studies showcase policies and initiatives for designing buildings to promote physical activity and reduce respiratory illnesses. They also cover living streets, promoting access to healthy foods, and building livable neighborhoods for all ages with accessible, high-quality housing.
Local Leaders: Healthier Communities Through Design offers replicable best practices for communities of all sizes. What challenges does your own community face? Read Local Leaders to find innovative solutions, connect with your municipal officials, and make a compelling case for enacting change.
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This content is published by the AIA Government and Community Relations Department, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20006. To contact the AIA’s Government & Community Relations team, send an email to email@example.com.