Why This Matters

How the built environment affects physical activity and how changes in the environment can promote active living are issues that have captured public attention. There are many other links between health and the built environment, however, from air quality to food access. The Design for Health (DFH) project and its online presence, www.DesignforHealth.net, synthesizes the evidence base linking landscape, urban design, planning, and health.

Phase 1 of the Design for Health project took advantage of a specific situation in Minnesota. In the Twin Cities all municipalities update their plans on a 10-year cycle, mandated by the Metropolitan Council, with a deadline in 2008. Furthermore, the $286.4 billion transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, provided over $3 billion exclusively to construct infrastructure for active living and active transportation. Of this $25 million had been earmarked for improvements in the Twin Cities. These events created a vital window of opportunity to integrate healthy-living principles into municipal plans and formed the impetus for Design for Health, Phase 1.

More information is available at DFH History and Activities.

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