The shape that we give to our city, in turn shapes us. Since America’s growth boom following WWII, the built form we began giving our cities and suburbs has molded an increasingly overweight, under-active population. Over the past several decades, public health officials have established ever-stronger links between the quality of our built environment and the startling rise of largely preventable diseases. Recognizing this relationship, NCDC’s Shaping Healthy Communities (SHC) initiative engages the causes and outcomes of health defeating community design, and seeks to influence the creation of health-promoting communities.
The SHC Initiative originates from the 2016 NCDC publication, Shaping the Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan. Analyzing Nashville using the “transect”, an urban planning model central to the New Urbanist and smart growth movements, Shaping the Healthy Community provides a diagnosis of health promoting and health defeating aspects present across Nashville while ascribing evidence based best practices to ten unique case study locations.
During the creation of Shaping the Healthy Community, six key features emerged as key built environment influencers upon public health, and guide the work of the SHC Initiative. These factors are:
- Neighborhood Design & Development
- Walkability and Pedestrian Safety
- Open Space and Parks
- Food Resources