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Healthy Communities in PA

The Healthy Communities in PA task force encourages healthy community design in Pennsylvania by combining expertise from the planning and health fields. Join the group at our next Orientation and Information Sharing call on September 27, 2017 at 2pm.



Want to help encourage healthy community design in Pennsylvania? This quick (10 min) survey lets us know your healthy community design priorities to help identify resources for Pennsylvania’s communities. If you are involved with a program or project related to healthy community design, including it in this survey can help you advertise your program as a resource to other Pennsylvania communities.

Let us know what you think at Take Survey

Want to help get the word out to your networks? Our social media share kit makes it easy!

Healthy Communities in PA Vision
The Healthy Communities in PA task force envisions communities in all parts of Pennsylvania being built in a way that makes the healthy choice the easy choice for every resident.

Healthy Communities in PA Mission
The Healthy Communities in PA task force achieves its vision through volunteer efforts by planning and health advocates creating tools and resources to assist partners in promoting healthy community design. The tools and resources are created by working groups of task force topic experts collecting best practices needed by Pennsylvania’s healthy community design partners and to create new partners. The American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter is committed to sharing these resources and facilitating discussion around healthy community design in Pennsylvania.

How to get involved
The task force holds a regular telephone call, typically on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 2 p.m. to introduce new members and have general information sharing as outlined in this one page description. The task force forms working groups to tackle projects as needed which meet at the convenience of the members. Anyone wishing to further the implementation of healthy community design in Pennsylvania is welcome to join this google group listserv or submit your information in the contact us section of our website with the request “Join Healthy Communities in PA.”

What is Healthy Community Design?

Healthy communities make the healthy choice the easy choice. Healthy community design advocates work to link the fields of health and planning to ensure that those designing the built environment consistently consider health outcomes and those seeking to improve public health consider the physical environment.

When the Healthy Communities in PA Task Force uses the term healthy community design, it is related to this perspective of linking health and planning by professionals and advocates. The healthy communities we are trying to enable through design has a much more inclusive definition that covers many different aspects. For more extensive background on healthy communities in the broader context of community consider the following resources:

“Healthy community design is about planning and designing communities to make it easier for people to live healthy lives. Healthy community design encourages mixed land uses to bring people closer to the places where they live, work, worship, and play. Doing so reduces dependence on cars and provides affordable housing, good bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, space for social gathering, and access to transit, parks, and healthy foods.”

-U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




What is the Healthy Communities in PA Task Force?

The Healthy Communities in PA Task Force combines the expertise of health and planning professionals to discuss the best ways to encourage healthy communities design implementation in Pennsylvania. The Healthy Communities in PA Task Force was created with the assistance of a CDC Partnerships in Community Health Planners4Health grant from the national American Planning Association (APA).


Healthy Community Design Resources

Resources by Topic

A variety of topic-based resources for a wide array of healthy community design topics are available here.

Resources organized through the CDC’s six core areas for understanding the connection between public health and built environment from “making the case” to “application” can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/training_framework.htm

Adaptable presentations have been created to help you present information on healthy community design to a variety of audiences. See some formats here.

Training Sessions

Videos and archived webinars on Healthy Community design can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericanPlanningAssn/search?query=health

Healthy Communities in PA day-long round table, held in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Interagency Health Equity Team on August 22, 2017, summary materials are available at http://bit.ly/2017-08-22HCiPA

In person or Pennsylvania specific healthy community design events are available on our website calendar and listed below.

Working Groups

Healthy Aging Working Group

The Healthy Aging Working Group is currently putting together many resources and tools for urban and public health planners that will help communities become more supportive places for older adults to live. While we are gathering these materials, we would like to point you in the direction of one great place to start, the website for the World Health Organization and AARP’s Age-friendly Cities model. Communities nation-wide, and a handful in Pennsylvania, have embraced this model, which brings together urban planners, aging network advocates, city officials and more to help our communities become great places to grow up and get older. 

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) also has resources on age-friendly communities at http://www.dvrpc.org/aging/. Though some of these resources are specific to Southeastern Pennsylvania, many have applicability statewide.

We also invite you to join the Healthy Aging Working Group Google Group, which aims to share resources around the topic of healthy aging in Pennsylvania.        Join Here

Upcoming Webinars

Upcoming national webinars on healthy community design are listed on Plan4Health website  More Events

In Person Events

Public Health 3.0: Moving Healthy Forward
Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Location: Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

Despite public health’s increasing focus on how environments impact health, our ZIP codes remain a more accurate determinant of health than our genetic codes. Join the Pennsylvania Department of Health for a conversation about how we can work together to create conditions that allow all members of our communities to live healthy lives.

Save the date

2017 PA Greenways and Trails Summit
Date: 9/24/2017 11:00 AM – 9/26/2017 2:30 PM
Location: Doubletree by Hilton, Reading PA

Join over 200 other trail planners, builders, volunteers, advocates, park and recreation professionals, and motorized and non-motorized trail enthusiasts at the premiere greenways and trails education

Summit Objectives

  • Create an opportunity for members of the greenways and trails movement to interact with and learn from one another and leaders of the movement on a state and national level.
  • Provide a forum to discuss a vision, direction, and priorities for the statewide greenways and trails movement.
  • Facilitate opportunities to reconnect people to the outdoors and stimulate increased physical activity.
  • Provide a catalyst for dialogue among health professionals and trail providers to increase awareness of the importance of health and wellness and to build more walkable communities.

Register Here

Re-Envisioning Population Health for Vulnerable Older Adults:  The LIFE Story Today and Tomorrow 
When: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 from 8:30 to 9:30 AM EDT
Where: Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Alumni Hall, Atrium, Philadelphia, PA
Register: This Forum will bring together three experts in the field of aging to discuss the future of population health through the lens of the Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) Program. The LIFE Program, also nationally known as the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), is a comprehensive program that is committed to keeping low-income seniors who are 55 and older as independent as possible, for as long as possible, in the place they call home by providing high quality healthcare with supportive services.    

Register Here

Designing Livable Housing for All Ages
When: Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Register: Join AARP Pennsylvania at the DesignPhiladelphia Conference to learn how affordable housing options can make communities more livable for all ages, abilities, incomes and backgrounds  right here in Philadelphia.  
You’ll hear from local experts and learn how AARP’s new Home Design Toolkit can help make affordable housing the centerpiece of communities where all ages can live and thrive.

Register Here

FitCityPHL 3
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2017
Location: Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Host: Health Promotion Council; http://hpcpa.org

FitCityPHL is an annual full-day symposium that explores design strategies in workplaces, neighborhoods, and cities that improve health by promoting physical activity and healthy eating. It brings together individuals representing the sectors of architecture, planning, design, landscape architecture, development, public health, research and evaluation, academia, philanthropy, and government to learn about how the built environment can have a positive impact on the negative health trends currently facing communities – particularly obesity and other chronic conditions. At this year’s symposium, attendees will be able to interact with public sector leaders in a town hall format, learn about community engagement and workplace active design strategies, and participate in several walking tours highlighting local examples of active design. (View Agenda)

Register Here