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Community Design - Active Communities

Currently, only 17.5% of Canadian adults and 9.5% of children and youth get the recommended amount of exercise needed for health benefits.1 2 Active community design can make it easier for people of all ages to live active lifestyles.

 

An active community is designed to support people’s everyday physical activity choices.

Physical activity provides numerous health benefits including reducing the risk of over 25 chronic conditions such as:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • certain types of cancer
  • osteoporosis
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • high blood pressure,
  • depression
  • stress and anxiety 2

Active Community Design

An active community is a community that is designed to be well connected and where it is easy to use active transportation (human power such as walking, cycling, roller blading, wheel-chairing, public transit, etc.) to get to places such as:

  • school
  • shopping
  • work and
  • recreation

Active community design can also:

  • reduce the risk of injuries
  • improve air quality
  • reduce traffic congestion and
  • reduce negative impacts on climate change.3 4

Active community design supports active transportation by making connections to the places people want to travel using:

  • sidewalks
  • multi-use pathways
  • on-road cycling facilities
  • public transit
 
Father holding sons hand

 

Active & Safe Routes to School

 

Give Active Transportation A Go!
 

 

Having a variety of transportation options and routes that provide easy access to the places people need to travel to and that are attractive can encourage regular physical activity. This type of design can also support social interaction and provide people with a sense of place and belonging.

Additional Information

To learn more about active community design, please see Active City: Designing for Health.

 
Date of creation: November 23, 2016
Last modified on: February 19, 2019
 

References

1Public Health Agency of Canada. Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep (PASS) Indicators: Quick Stats, adults (aged 18+), Canada, 2017 edition. Ottawa, (ON): Public Health Agency of Canada; 2017. Retrieved from
https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/publications/health-promotion-chronic-disease-prevention-canada-research-policy-practice/vol-37-no-8-2017/ar-04-eng.pdf
2Public Health Agency of Canada. Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep (PASS) Indicators: Quick Stats, children (aged 5 to 11) and youth (aged 12 to 17), Canada, 2017 edition. Ottawa, (ON): Public Health Agency of Canada; 2017. Retrieved from
https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/publications/health-promotion-chronic-disease-prevention-canada-research-policy-practice/vol-37-no-8-2017/ar-04-eng.pdf
3Healthy Canada by Design CLASP. (2013). Active Transportation, Health and Community Design. Retrieved from
https://www.cip-icu.ca/Files/Healthy-Communities/FACTSHEETS-ActiveTransportation-FINALenglish.aspx
4Toronto Public Health. (2012). The Walkable City: Neighbourhood Design and Preferences, Travel Choices and Health. Retrieved from
https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/9617-TPH-walkable-city-report.pdf