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Education Attainment Division

Creating Place

Emily Counts on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 10:00:00 am
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Did you know that making upgrades to your community’s environment can improve the health outcomes of your community? Your chamber or community may have added sidewalks, created pedestrian-only downtown spaces or host a local farmer’s market every weekend. Placemaking has traditionally been seen as an economic development strategy, but it also can be a community health strategy. No matter how your chamber implements placemaking, one thing is for sure; it makes your community the place to be.

The Billings Chamber (Mont.) is intentional about using placemaking as an avenue for better health outcomes in the community. Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Reiser CCE, IOM says, “Healthy placemaking means making the healthy choice the easy choice by being intentional about considering health when developing policies and systems.”

The Billings Chamber put this into action through their Trails Initiative. The chamber led the task force that increased and connected trails in the community. Billings went from having 15 miles of trails to 40 miles. Jennifer shares, “By including opportunities for physical activity and movement, we can also increase opportunities for social connectedness, thus affecting both the physical and mental health of our employees. We are encouraging our employers to use healthy placemaking as a tool for employee engagement and workforce development.”

If you are interested in learning more about healthy placemaking, the Inclusive Healthy Placemaking Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a helpful place to start. Below is a summary table from the Inclusive Healthy Placemaking Report on how to incorporate healthy placemaking in your community. 

Public SpaceNeighborhood City Regional/National 

Public Space Neighborhood City Regional/National
  • Street and sidewalk/plaza redesign
  • Community garden project
  • New waterfront access are or esplanade
  • Lighting on a sidewalk
  • Events held on a square/in a street
  • Improvement to a public transit entrance
  • Community park design-build project
  • Renewal program for an urban district
  • New bike lane connections on a street network
  • Construction of a regional destination waterfront park
  • Day worker meeting site
  • Main street revitalization or redesign
  • Installation of street lighting fixtures
  • Public space network plans
  • Resiliency strategy for urban waterfront parks
  • Mobility plan
  • Bus rapid transit or light rail corridors
  • Bikeshare network stations or bike racks
  • Zoning for access to healthy food stores
  • Active design guidelines
  • Mental health awareness campaigns
  • Congestion-pricing policy
  • Walk to work policy initiative
  • Large scale rails to trails project
  • Regional economic development strategy
  • Public land conservation plan
  • Environmental cleanup project
  • National 10 minute walk to a park goal
  • Regional health framework plan

Do you have healthy placemaking stories to share? We would love to hear from you. Email Emily Counts (ecounts@acce.org) to let us know what you are doing.

Tags: Community Health, Economic Development

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