Active Living by Design

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation



Active Living by Design supported comprehensive approaches to increase physical activity in 25 diverse communities across the nation with a low-dollar, high-touch approach to grant making and technical assistance. Based on an integrated “5P” model (which was the foundation for Healthy Places by Design's Community Action Model) the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s $15.5 million investment increased opportunities for active living and created sustainable community change.

Our Support

  • Established a network of grantees that implemented 115 policy changes, facilitated 118 improvements to the built environment, created 115 new programs, and developed 45 new planning products;
  • Leveraged over $256 million in new funding to support healthy community environments;
  • Planned and hosted six national annual grantee meetings;
  • Consulted with dozens of local, statewide, and national organizations in the development of healthy communities, grant making, and technical assistance strategies; and
  • Developed and disseminated case studies from all 25 communities and co-edited four peer-reviewed journals.

Specific services we provided included:

  • Grant program design and management;
  • Grantee learning network;
  • Ongoing coaching and technical assistance;
  • Conferences, convenings, and trainings;
  • Tool and resource development;
  • Field building with local, state, and national partners; and
  • Sustainability planning.


“The work of Active Living by Design (ALbD) changed the debate about physical activity and the trajectory of many communities. ALbD helped to re-energize connections between planning, health, architecture and other sectors of community life. These 25 pioneering ALbD communities made quite a mark on public health in a very short time.”

Executive Director, America Walks