Planning

There are several approaches that municipalities can undertake to develop built environments that support active living.  Leadership for Healthy Communities links to a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that provides resources to help communities become healthier through built- environment improvements.  Suggested ways to increase opportunities for physical activity include:

Active-Transportation Initiatives

To accommodate pedestrian and bicyclists, the pedestrian network (i.e., trails, sidewalks, walkways) should be continuously linked and connected.  Community design principles such as context-sensitive design, mobility-friendly design, mixed-used and infill development can be adopted to support the walkability and bikeability of a community.  These practices are supported by the Delaware Complete Streets Policy and the Delaware Statewide Pedestrian Action Plan.

Community Design

To provide alternative modes to automobile travel, communities should be designed and built with the pedestrian in mind.  Better Models for Development in Delaware sets forth six principles for better development, including strategies to reduce the impact of the car.  In addition, IPA’s Delaware Planning Education Program offers courses to learn about community design principles and how to revise local codes to foster a more pedestrian- and mobility-friendly community.

Parks and Recreation Facilities

Increasing access to open spaces, parks, and active-recreation facilities (i.e., playgrounds, ball fields, picnic areas, sports complexes, and trails) can promote physical activity of community members.  To promote use of these facilities, design should reflect community interests, incorporate sustainability features, and consider long-term maintenance needs and management costs.  See the resource guide section PDF icon that explains a master site–planning process and how it can engage the public and build public consensus (p. 50).  Build it and they will come?  Not necessarily.  Recreation programming can promote use of parks and trails.  Social marketing can also influence behavior to promote physical activity and exercise.

To learn more about planning a healthy community, see the following: