Book

Book

The shape we give to our city, in turn, shapes us. The form that Americans began to give to their cities and suburbs in the years following World War II has molded an increasingly underactive, overweight population subject to a variety of preventable diseases, as well as an environment with degraded air and water quality. Shaping the Healthy Community explores the relationships between the built environment and public health and presents an action plan for a healthier city.

The book analyzes Nashville, Tennessee, using the "transect," an urban planning model central to the New Urbanist and smart growth movements. By considering the seven "transect zones"—natural, rural, suburban, urban, downtown, centers, and districts—the book provides a diagnosis of the health-promoting and health-defeating aspects of each.

Strategies tailored to each zone focus on six built environment factors that impact health: neighborhood design and development, transportation, walkability and pedestrian safety, food resources, housing, and open space and parks. Individual chapters include case studies of specific neighborhoods, contributions by experts, infographics, site photographs, and detailed before-and-after visualizations.

Shaping the Healthy Community presents real-world facts, policy recommendations, and design strategies to enable health and planning professionals, developers and designers, educators and community organizations to build places in which healthy practices can be part of daily life.

Like The Plan of Nashville: Avenues to a Great City, this book is a collaboration of the Nashville Civic Design Center, Vanderbilt University Creative Services, and Vanderbilt University Press.

Reviews

"Nashville is already a national leader in the health care industry, but I want nothing less than for us to be a national leader in health. As a physician and a policymaker, my mantra has become 'make the healthy choice the easy choice.' Shaping the Healthy Community is about just that."

--from the Preface by Senator William H. Frist, MD

"Twenty-first-century cities are reinventing themselves, and the best and brightest want to live in lively, healthy places. Cities must tell their stories to the world, as Nashville has done, beautifully."

-- Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH, was for nine years Director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health

"Nashville, the city that has shaped our popular culture and made it global, now stands to help us rethink our built environment. Though this book's focus is on one unique American city, its findings provide metropolitan cultures everywhere with a blueprint for healthy living. With their thorough research and analysis, the authors point the way to achieving the human- and Earth-centered places our century is ready to embrace."

-- Susan S. Szenasy, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Metropolis Magazine

Recent Projects

Neighborhood Assessment Toolkit

Neighborhood Assessment Toolkit

A continuation of both The Plan of Nashville and Shaping the Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan, the Neighborhood Assessment Toolkit is an assessment and development scoring tool intended for local and community associations when engaging new development. The Toolkit is comprised of neighborhood and parcel assessment resources, along with a development scorecard based on the 10 Principles of the Plan of Nashville.

Placemaking: Challenges + Opportunities in Metro Nashville Preview

Placemaking: Challenges + Opportunities in Metro Nashville

The Project for Public Spaces, on their organization’s web site, asks “what if we built our communities around places?” They then go on to define Placemaking as “both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region, Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community.  Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, Placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value.  More than just promoting better urban design, Placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.”

Each team asked the questions “could the spaces proposed improve pedestrian, bicycle, and street connectivity?  Could they maintain and/or strengthen street and/or bike and pedestrian connections depending on the site?”  The intent was to promote walkable, bike-friendly environments and access to transit, with particular attention to providing connections between the proposed spaces and surrounding neighborhoods.

Access and Livability: Transit-Oriented Development, The Franklin Corridor Preview

Access and Livability: Transit-Oriented Development, The Franklin Corridor

As Nashville’s economy and population booms, creating new opportunities for transit will help keep our communities healthy and prosperous. Currently, Nashville is a car-centric city leaving most of its people with the automobile as the only option for transportation. As driving costs, obesity rates, and the median age of the population continue to increase, providing transportation options becomes a priority to ensure public health and continued mobility. 

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