Issues & AdvocacyPublic Policy
The Report is Out! Local Leaders − Healthier Communities Through Design
Released on December 11, 2012, the AIA’s new publication Local Leaders: Healthier Communities Through Design is a key resource for government officials, design professionals, and other stakeholders collaborating to address America’s public health challenges.
Our recent sneak preview of the publication outlined the public health crisis facing communities all across the U.S. Physical inactivity and obesity are leading causes of America’s epidemic rise in chronic disease, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Only 19 percent of Americans are meeting the recommended daily levels of physical activity (Institute of Medicine, 2012). An alarming one third of U.S. adults and nearly one in five children and adolescents are now obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).
America’s public health challenges require a broad set of cost-effective design solutions – and a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach. Mixed-use development and multi-modal transit options have been proven to improve health outcomes by integrating physical activity into our everyday lives. However, healthier design also stimulates economic growth. For instance, investments in a community’s walkability typically increase land value by 70 to 300 percent and retail sales by 30 percent (ITE Journal, April 2011).
At the local level, mayoral leadership and strong civic engagement can effectively create change from the bottom up. Communities need to prepare now for America’s rapidly aging population, increasing resource constrains, and our citizens’ growing desire to live in more walkable, livable communities. Local leaders who are committed to working with architects, health officials, and other key constituents will not only make their communities better now – they will create healthier, more economically viable communities for decades to come.
Government & Community Relations Archive:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.