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New CDC Report Tells How to Design Communities to Support Good Health

ATLANTA, GA – April 15, 2010 – A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) illustrates the importance of considering public health factors--such as physical activity, respiratory and mental health, water quality, social equity, healthy aging, and social capital --when creating the built environment. The report is the latest product of CDC’s Healthy Community Design Initiative, aimed at combating soaring rates of asthma, diabetes, and obesity by improving the way communities are designed.

The report is a product of an expert workshop, held in Atlanta in September 2009. Moderated by Architectural Record’s editor-in-chief, Robert Ivy, the workshop convened experts from academia, architecture, building, development, government, planning, and public health to consider the impact that community design has on health.

“We recognized that a common concern over health exists, but common language among disciplines is lacking,” said Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, who leads CDC’s Healthy Community Design Initiative. “And although we share the same concerns about health, different disciplines are not currently working together to address them. CDC is working to foster collaboration and help establish a practice of considering health impact when making land use, transportation planning and other community design decisions.”

The report includes case studies that illustrate best practices in healthy community design and it recommends action steps to advance healthy community design principles. It is available at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/publications/CDCExpertWorkshopReport_FINAL.pdf [PDF - 394 KB].

Workshop participants identified action steps for CDC and their professional organizations including health impact in continuing education and licensure requirements in various disciplines and conducting research to better describe the relationship between health and community design.

Organizations represented at the two-day workshop were: The American Institute of Architects, the American Planning Association, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the American Society of Landscape Architects, Congress for the New Urbanism, International City/County Management Association, Local Government Commission, National Association of City and County Health Officials, the National Association of Home Builders, National Conference of State Legislatures, Health Impact Project (a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts), Regional Planning Association, Urban Land Institute, U.S. Access Board, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Green Building Council.

For more information on the report and CDC’s Healthy Community Initiative (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces), contact Charles Green at 770-488-0626 or clg8@cdc.gov. To subscribe to the Healthy Community Design News Listserv, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/listserv.htm.

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