Proven Tools for Building Healthy Places

Proven Tools for Building Healthy Places
Johanna Frank, Rachel MacCleery, Suzanne Nienaber, Sara Hammerschmidt, and Abigail Claflin
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"Health does not stop or start at the doctor's office--it begins in homes, workplaces, schools, and communities," according to the Building Healthy Places Toolkit. The toolkit, produced by the Urban Land Institute and the Center for Active Design, provides proven recommendations and strategies for enhancing health through the design and operation of housing and other built spaces.

The report's 21 recommendations give developers clear guidance, backed by peer-reviewed research, on enhancing residents' health. Schematics demonstrate how the strategies can work in a variety of settings, including multifamily developments, single-family homes, master planned communities, and mixed-use developments.

For example, developments can promote physical health by:

  • incorporating a mix of land uses,
  • designing well-connected street networks at the human scale,
  • providing sidewalks and enticing, pedestrian-oriented streetscapes,
  • providing infrastructure to support biking,
  • designing visible, enticing stairs to encourage everyday use,
  • installing stair prompts and signage,
  • providing high-quality spaces for multigenerational play and recreation, and
  • building play spaces for children.

Additional recommendations address proven ways to support healthy food and drinking water access and to provide a healthy environment and opportunities for social well-being.

Photo courtesy of Thomas McConnell Photography.