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Healthy Community Design Initiative: Recent Accomplishments

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

The Healthy Community Design Initiative, also known as the Built Environment and Health Initiative, is no longer a funded program and the information on this website is not being reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Research and Communications

  • Co-funded the National Health Impact Assessment Meeting, Washington DC, in 2012 and 2013 — the first major meetings in the United States to introduce public health professionals and others new to HIA to the appropriate applications, methods, and challenges involved in the HIA process.
  • Served as the Healthy Communities track chair for the National Healthy Homes Conference in June 2011. This is the first time the conference will have a healthy communities track.
  • Assisted with development and review of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council’s Challenge Grants on the impact of urban forests on public health (
  • Assisted with development and review of U.S. EPA’s Aging Initiative titled Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging: Training and Demonstration Projects (
  • Served on the executive planning committee for the 2010 Congress for the New Urbanism’s 18th Annual Congress ( to integrate the health and built environment theme New Urbanism: Rx for Healthy Places into all aspects of the conference. The 2010 Congress had the second highest attendance conference in CNU’s 18-year history (1,400 attendees). The collaboration helped influence the 2011 CNU 19 theme, Growing Local, which explored linkages that urban communities have with local food production, the food economy and the infrastructure that has developed around this symbiosis.
  • Helped the Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization develop project selection criteria so that future transportation projects that positively impact health will be more likely to be built and funded.
  • Funded SRTS National Partnership’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Curricula Guide to give SRTS practitioners, teachers, school administrators and others the necessary background information to fully understand the positive benefits of teaching bicycle and pedestrian education in the classroom ( [PDF – 6.91 MB]).
  • Worked with the SRTS National Partnership to develop best practice guidelines that help communities develop SRTS programs (
    Health_Evaluation_Feb_2010.pdf [PDF – 394 KB]
  • Fund the local Government Commission’s annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference ( through a conference support grant. The 3-day conference draws an average of 1,400 attendees and provides sessions on cutting-edge smart growth issues, the latest research, implementation tools and strategies, successful case studies, and new policies.
  • Distribute the Healthy Community Design e-News monthly to more than 1,600 CDC Livability listserv subscribers. The e-News addresses issues related to health and the built environment with a compilation of relevant news articles, latest studies, and updates on conferences and events.
  • Had 141,993 visits to the Healthy Places Web site ( in Fiscal Year 2012. Planetizen named the Web site as one of “the 10 best planning, design, and development Web sites [representing] some of the top online resources for news, information and research on the built environment.”
  • Convened a Healthy Community Design Expert Workshop of 20 top built environment thought leaders from various disciplines to discuss how to raise awareness among their peers about the health impact of community design decisions. The workshop report is available at (
    CDCExpertWorkshopReport_FINAL.pdf [PDF – 394 KB]
  • Helped fund From Fitness Zones to the Medical Mile: How Urban Park Systems Can Best Promote Health and Wellness, a Trust for Public Land (TPL) report developed as a result of an April 2008 TPL-organized colloquium of 22 leading professionals in the fields of public and mental health, parks, and urban planning. The report includes by TPL’s research and analysis and a search for best practices ( [PDF – 1.48 MB]).
  • Funded an Internet forum created by the American Planning Association that allows planning and public health professionals to discuss relevent topics, communicate views, and exchange information. The forum formally launched in October 2010. As of November 30, 2010, the forum had 402 members (primarily public health and planning professionals), 26 blog posts, and 5 discussion forums with 16 posts.
  • Funded the University of Virginia School of Architecture’s Web site Public Health + Built Environment: Course Curriculum that offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate, graduate, or continuing education curriculum in public health and built environment.
  • Conducted more than 30 presentations on health and built environment since 2008 at conferences and meetings in the United States and abroad.
  • Since 2009, has provided 6 dissertation support grants to public health/community doctorial candidates in cooperation with the Association for Schools Public Health. These grants help recipients pursue their studies while receiving guidance and input from CDC experts (
  • Coauthored seven peer-reviewed publications since 2008 on healthy community design topics (
  • Helped incorporate health considerations into the LEED for Neighborhood Development LEED-ND rating system (
    LEED-ND_tabloid_Final.pdf [PDF – 284 KB]
  • Developed a model curriculum for a public health and community design course, which is being taught in at least three universities (

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  • Page last reviewed: October 10, 2012 (archived document)
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