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Creating Safe, Active, and Healthy Communities Through Walkability

By America Walks on August 30th, 2017

At America Walks, we know that the benefits of walking extend well beyond health. Everything from familial relationships and community engagement to local economies and environments improve when communities are walkable. America Walks has supported local walking champions for twenty years, helping to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and be physically active in communities across the United States.

Unfortunately, we know that not all communities have access to safe opportunities for active transportation. A recent trip to Houston by one of our own, Emilie Bahr, exemplified this as she explored neighborhoods where the sidewalk, quite literally, ends. This was understandably frustrating and got us thinking: What would you do if you lived in a community that wasn’t safe to walk in? What are some of the things you might do, as a resident, to help shift community demand in favor of walkability?

Here are several suggestions:

  • Perform a walking audit. Grab like-minded friends, family members, neighbors, and maybe even your local council member to assess and explore the walkability of your community. Guides like this one make it easy and fun!
  • Consider a pilot project. Explore opportunities for tactical urbanism and demonstrate the power of even small, short-term actions that inspire long-term change.
  • Become an advocate. Local elected officials are powerful allies in the creation of walkable communities. Contact your officials and tell them why walkability is so important to you and your community.
  • Share your story. Consider writing a blog for America Walks or a letter to the editor in your local newspaper to inspire other community change agents.
  • And, as our partners at Healthy Places by Design do, ask whose voice is missing. The people who often face the most barriers to walkable communities are those whose stories too often go unheard.

Want more tips? At the 2017 National Walking Summit, we will hear from local, state, and national walking champions who are working to make communities across the country more walkable. Hear firsthand from people who strapped on their walking shoes and made real change. Speakers represent a variety of backgrounds and sectors, reflecting the broad constituency affected by and working to improve walking conditions nationwide.

America Walks

Guest Blogger

America Walks is leading the way in making America a great place to walk. Together, America Walks and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative boast 700 allied organizations who across the nation are working to increase walking and walkable communities.