Being able to reach or access a variety of destinations (e.g., jobs, financial institutions, social contacts, health services, and grocery stores) is critical to many dimensions of a healthy community. Particularly for the elderly, the young or the financially disadvantaged, transit is the mode of transportation that provides such access (where walking or cycling is too burdensome). Opportunities to access transit service, in terms of service location and service time, often rely on certain levels of density.

Design for Health (DFH) Materials

Other Resources

Fact Sheets and Posters

  • Housing Density Fact Sheets 
  • These two-page documents present local examples of housing and neighborhoods in and near Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The housing examples range in density from seven dwelling units per acre (du/ac) to 110 du/ac. Each is presented with ground and aerial photographs, as well as a location map. Descriptions of the housing and site characteristics and census data—at the census tract and block levels—provide detailed information about each example.

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Protocols, Kits and Guides

  • Active Living Research: Tools and Measures
    This Web site provides links to over urban-design and park audit tools, produced by researchers from a variety of institutions, including the University of Minnesota, Harvard School of Public Health, and the University of Western Australia.
  • Environment and Physical Activity GIS Protocols Manual 
    Developed in conjunction with the Twin Cities Walking Study, this manual provides protocols for measuring environmental variables associated with walking. It is periodically updated.
  • Mapping Park Buffers: The Minnesota Method 2005 (716 KB) 
    This Metropolitan Design Center technical paper, revised in 2005, illustrates a method of identifying access to open space along a street network, as opposed to the simpler technique of using straight-line buffers. This approach deals with physical and human barriers to park access in a more realistic way.

Reports and Guidelines

  • Sample Pedestrian Plans
    A collection of plans from, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.
  • Colorado Mile Markers
    How to measure changes in active transportation is an area of current interest in both health and transportation circles. Those working in transportation want to know more about sustainable, low emissions modes and modes available to the whole population and not just licensed drivers. Those in health realize that a focus on exercise misses much routine physical activity—done in the course of paid work, chores and errands, and getting about. This report provides an inventory of current mesures and recommends a strategy for Colorado.

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Web Sites

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, has useful tips on decreasing traffic injuries among children, including its report on National Strategies for Advancing Child Pedestrian Safety.
  • InformeDesign 
    InformeDesign is a research and communication tool for designers. Its search engine provides research summaries on many health themes. Each article summary has the following elements: design issue, design criteria, key concepts, research method, limitations, and commentary.
  • Center for Universal Design
    This is a collaboration between North Carolina State University, the University of Buffalo and Global Universal Design Educator Network. It is a terrific site on universal design and includes a section for online resources, as well as basic overview articles on universal design.
  • Universal Design and Visitability: from Accessibility to Zoning
    A free e-book for environmental designers, planners, and others interested in universal design. The book introduces the concepts of universal design and “visitability”. It aims to provide the information needed to teach the concept of universal design, and to plan, design, and draft policy for making spaces comfortably accessible to everyone.
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis of Bicycle Facilities
    This tool provides planners, policy officials, and decision makers with a consistent framework to guide decisions about whether to build a new bicycle facility by estimating costs, demand in terms of new cyclists, and measured economic benefits (e.g., time savings, increased livability, decreased health costs, a more enjoyable ride). The research underlying the guidelines and tool itself were developed at the University of Minnesota (Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and Department of Civil Engineering), in collaboration with Planners’ Collaborative consulting firm, and the University of North Carolina- National Highway Safety Research Center.

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