Healthy Community Design in Boston
In an effort to promote healthy lifestyle choices for residents, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently launched a Healthy Community Design initiative that aims to make communities in the state more walkable and bike-friendly.
This initiative puts health at the center of community planning, transportation and land-use policy decisions, and it encourages residents in and around the Boston area to walk or bike to schools, parks, grocery stores and businesses. Not only does Healthy Community Design promote exercise and healthy choices for residents, it also is great for the environment. With more people opting to walk or bike to their destination, car traffic decreases, improving air quality and respiratory health.
Healthy Community Design initiatives work to:
- Make roads safe and accessible for all users by installing bike lanes, clear signage, sidewalks and crosswalks.
- Shorten distances between places where people live, work and access healthy food.
- Ensure that affordable housing is located near public transit to reduce car dependency.
- Develop public parks and community centers where people can socialize and exercise.
How Can We Improve Public Health Beyond MA?
Public health professionals are needed across the country to plan and implement Healthy Community Design initiatives in big cities like Boston, as well as in smaller communities. People everywhere should be able to easily access healthy food options and opportunities for active living.
The online MPH program from GW trains aspiring public health professionals to create positive public health plans, such the Healthy Community Design project underway in Massachusetts.