"The shape we give our city, in turn shapes us.” Public health and urban planning emerged from the recognition of the impact built environments have on health. Last century, the built environment was altered to reduce ill health; with the resulting zoning requirements producing the unintended consequences of a sedentary and increasingly obese population. The challenge for 21st Century public health and urban planning is to shape cities so their design fosters good health. The Shaping Healthy Communities: Nashville (SHCN) project takes on this challenge. “Shaping • Building • Becoming: Setting the Tone for a Healthier Nashville,” is an exhibit that illustrates the issues facing planners and citizens using Nashville as an example. The display will include: citizen interviews, large wall and floor maps, an interactive kiosk and a community feedback wall.
The Nashville Civic Design Center began a partnership with the Metro Public Health Department in the spring of 2010, addressing the impact of ‘built environments’ on health with an emphasis on research and education. SHCN brings the lens of health to the planning transects (community types; i.e. rural, suburban, urban) and current built environments, and addresses how we can adapt our city to foster good health through design. The city of Nashville is in the nascent stage of formulating a new General Plan. “Shaping • Building • Becoming” puts a face to the planning transects, and provides a framework in which visitors can become a part of the conversation .
This exhibit can be viewed at the Nashville Downtown Library, 615 Church Street, from January 17, 2013 through May 19. An opening reception will be held January 17, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., which will also be a closing ceremony for the Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Summit.
Shaping Healthy Communities, a narrative book, will be published by Vanderbilt University Press in 2013, featuring vignettes of Nashville’s built environment; personal narratives of life in Nashville’s neighborhoods, and Actionable ideas for short-, mid-, and long-term design changes of Nashville’s neighborhoods that can promote health and well-being. The book will also include sidebars on key built environment and health topics by local and national experts; info-graphics on the impact of built environments on health; images of existing health-promoting built designs; local resources, and empirical references.