Press Release for Shaping The Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan

Press Release for Shaping The Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan

Contact: Greg Bailey

Gary Gaston

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – The Nashville Civic Design Center announces the release of Shaping the Health Community: The Nashville Plan, a new book that explores the relationship between the built environment and public health.  The book is published by Vanderbilt University Press, and is co-authored by Gary Gaston, Executive Director of the Nashville Civic Design Center, and Christine Kreyling, an award-winner writer who focuses on architecture and urban planning. 

Shaping the Healthy Community combines the professions of public health and community planning to apply a collaborative, health-conscious approach to both public and private development processes. The book explores seven community types throughout the city of Nashville; natural, rural, suburban, urban, centers, downtown and districts. Each of these “transect zones,” are then assessed and analyzed for health-promoting and/or health-defeating aspects.  The analysis and resulting strategies for change are based on six environmental factors that impact health; neighborhood design and development, transportation walkability/pedestrian safety, food resources, housing and open spaces/parks.

“While we focus on Nashville and Davidson County, the book contains design strategies and policy recommendations that are applicable to any city across the United States – to improve overall community health. Many towns and cities are dealing with similar issues as Nashville; our goal was to present those groups, whether developers, architects or public health officials,” Gaston said.

Shaping the Healthy Community also includes a checklist for communities, planners and neighborhood groups to assess their specific community and evaluate the various strategies that could be implemented to improve their area. The book features hundreds of photos, maps and illustrations that demonstrate best practices for improving the health of neighborhoods.

Gaston said the design center’s work only begins with publication of the book. He said the center will conduct an education and outreach process to work with communities interested in evaluating health and the built environment.

“We hope this book will have the same impact on the city of Nashville as our previous book, The Plan of Nashville: Avenues to a Great City, which provided a vision of a revitalized urban core that we have certainly achieved over the past 10 years. Shaping the Healthy Community is a book that can give every community in the country a workable plan to address these critical issues,” said Gaston.

A public celebration is planned for the release of Shaping the Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan celebration on Wednesday, April 13th from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Lentz Public Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Ave., with remarks from Mayor Megan Barry at 5:15 p.m.  Shaping the Healthy Community is currently available for ordering through the Civic Design Center’s website store ( and is expected to be available in local bookstores by Monday, April 26.

Funding for Shaping the Healthy Community was provided by grants from Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Department of Health, the Nashville Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Tennessee Department of Transportation with in-kind book design from Vanderbilt University. 


About Nashville Civic Design Center

The mission of the Nashville Civic Design Center is to elevate the quality of the Nashville's built environment and to promote public participation in the creation of a more functional and beautiful city for all. The NCDC fulfills its mission through neighborhood revitalization projects, community visioning sessions, public input meetings on planned projects, public education about civic design and urban planning, The Plan of Nashville and Urban Design Forums. For more information on the Nashville Civic Design Center and its programs, please visit 

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