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Increasing levels of physical activity and improving public health by promoting walking, bicycling, and accessible recreation facilities.

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Presentation on theme: "Increasing levels of physical activity and improving public health by promoting walking, bicycling, and accessible recreation facilities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Increasing levels of physical activity and improving public health by promoting walking, bicycling, and accessible recreation facilities.

2 Places where people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to live, work and play in a safe and inviting environment which enables physically active recreation and transportation, particularly walking and biking. These places: Support and promote physical activity for ALL people Have sidewalks, safe roads for biking, multi-use paths and trails, parks and open spaces and facilities for recreation Have quality connections between homes, stores, workplaces, schools, downtowns and/or village centers

3 Promote walking and bicycling opportunities Provide accessible recreation facilities Address street design and housing density Foster trail connectivity Improve availability of public transit Encourage neighborhood school sites Provide safe routes to school

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7 Municipal Offices & Officials Parks & Recreation Planning Public Works School department City/Town Manager Local Advocates Bike/Ped committees Trail committees Conservation commissions & Community Forest boards

8 Time & Resources People are busy – reluctant to take on additional tasks Budgets are tight Work occurs in silos Knowledge & Understanding Relationship between built environment & health little known / understood Regulations, or lack thereof, perpetuate the problem Benefits can come from changing how things are done instead of what things are done

9 Encourage environmental and policy change that will increase levels of physical activity and improve public health by promoting walking, bicycling, and the development of accessible recreation facilities. Advise policy makers and planners in supporting and enhancing community designs that encourage all citizens to be physically active in their daily lives. Promote communication across sectors / silos within municipalities to discover opportunities ACET’s are the key to implementing Active Community Environment concepts.

10 Promote “Health in All Policy” (HiAP) deliberations within their district/community. Identify needs and priorities Sponsor educational/workshops, invite experts to inform and educate Advise Local / Regional Planning Organizations Provide guidance to other local/regional policy makers. Conduct community assessments (Built Environment Assessment Tools, Health Impact Assessment) Advocate for policy change Provide guidance on the allocation of funding Review comprehensive plans

11 An ACET may be formed within a single larger community, or among several smaller communities depending on local resources and conditions. Many communities are not large enough to sustain an ACE Team – look for logical / existing partnerships Bigger is not better – ACE is local and involves day to day decisions. If an ACET is too regional in nature it will lose its ability to influence local municipal decisions. ACE Teams will take many forms across the state due to local conditions but should at all times strive to work at the most local level practical.

12 City / Town administrators and or elected officials City / Town planner Director of Parks & Recreation or their representative. Director of Public Works or their representative. Superintendent of Schools (in RSU locales – local high school principal – or commensurate highest school level staff for local community) Representative of local trails / bicycle-pedestrian coalition or similar citizen based organization Representative of local business community

13 Local / regional health/Healthy Maine Partnerships PTA / PTO reps Planning board members School board members P&R advisory board members Police Department representatives Citizens (especially older 50+ and younger 17-)

14 Active Community Environments are made up of policies, practices and the physical built environment. Active Community Environment Teams consider all of these when developing their work plans. While an ACE Team may focus on one aspect of ACE at a time, it is understood that this is a short term project oriented focus, in support of the overarching ACE community transformation concepts. Using ACE Team (ACET) nomenclature helps to keep the focus of the effort on big picture issues.

15 Given the range of readiness and capacity any one of the following will be acceptable forms of evidence that an ACET has been established: a resolve by the Council or Board of Selectmen indicating which municipal officers were appointed a record of an appointment vote by the council or select board indicating which municipal officials were assigned to the team a copy of the meeting minutes once the team is established indicating membership and appropriate municipal official representation any other such document indicating that a team is established, has a regular meeting schedule, has ACE concepts as its primary focus, and has representation from a sufficient number of municipal officials and citizen interest groups.

16 A bike-ped committee, a trail committee, even a neighborhood playground committee all organize around elements that are part of the overall Active Community Environment, but that are not in and of themselves Active Community Environments. A town bike-ped committee is not an Active Community Environment Team, because for the most part it exists to promote only one aspect Active Community Environments – increasing bicycle and pedestrian opportunities. A playground committee is not an Active Community Environment Team. A downtown development committee is not an Active Community Environment Team. A community forest committee is not an Active Community Environment Team.

17 All communities have limited capacity for volunteers and citizen advocates to work on community oriented committees. Similarly there is a finite supply of municipal officials and their time. As such it is advisable to build on existing resources as opposed to attempting to duplicate or overburden these resources. If a bike-ped committee already exists in your community, this can be the foundation for a larger and broader scoped ACE Team, or they can provide representation to an ACE Team, maintaining their content specific focus, but building ties to the more all-inclusive ACE initiative.

18 It is too easy to allow a group to narrow the focus of this work on any of its elements instead of maintaining the greater perspective; Too easy to focus on improving bike-ped conditions, forgetting that access to school facilities before and after school hours are also part of the mix; Too easy to focus on safe routes to schools forgetting that community design and mixed use zoning are also part of the mix; Too easy to focus on built environment when policy and perception are as, if not more important.

19 Changing the built environment takes time, energy and persistence. This work is not for those requiring immediate gratification Some short term success must be won, but as incremental steps toward the larger community transformation.

20 Build awareness of the relationship between built environment and health. Recruit community champions & municipal officials.

21 The challenges in recruiting appropriate members to Active Community Environment Teams should not be underestimated. All potential members, by the nature of their positions and work in the community will already be very busy. While one would hope that the work would sell itself the reality is that convincing potential members to actively engage in this process for the long haul will take a concerted effort and likely multiple strategies.

22 Before inviting municipal officials to attend an ACE Team meeting you will want to identify the local community advocates, bike/ped committee, trail committee, community forest board members, citizens who “get it”. These people will provide an “incentive” that is often helpful in encouraging municipal leaders to view this as a topic deserving their attention. They may be more inclined to attend meetings with members from their community as opposed to representatives from outside agencies. If your local advocates happen to be elected officials, all the better.

23 Invite the community advocates and municipal officials to a meeting titled something like “Local Governments’ role in combating the obesity epidemic”. Or maybe “Improving Public Health and Economic Health through Healthy Community Design”. Get creative and develop the local hook.

24 Present power point “Active Community Design” This will give a general overview of the connection between built environment and health. Present power point “Healthy Communities – Local Governments” This will bring home the message about the role local governments play in impacting “healthy community design” and the local built environment. This second presentation nicely sets you up for introducing the idea of ACE Teams, what they are, who belongs & why, what they do etc, and perhaps to get commitments from folks at meeting end to create the team

25 After the teams are created you will want to spend a little more time educating the team about health and the built environment before moving forward on projects, or at least simultaneous to moving forward on other work. This is a 4 part series aired in early 2012 Will expand upon the power point concepts. Should help to drive home the need. Find a way to view together and discuss before proceeding with ACE Team work.

26 Maintain a balance of expectations. It will be easy for the new team to muckle onto a project, like a sidewalk, or a bike lane, and race ahead as if that is what the ACET is all about. Built environment work is policy as much if not more than projects – and then there’s perception… Communities can do much to improve the built environment by reviewing policy and its impact. This work is also brick and mortar work and that takes time. Temper expectations for immediate gratification – this is not necessarily project, but process oriented work, and will take time. There has to be a balance between short term projects to keep people engaged and the long term policy and environmental change that will have a larger impact for the community as a whole.

27 Ultimately ACET is about creating an environment within Maine communities where “Health In All Policy” is a constant – if not driving the process at least being considered.

28 All the resources referred to in this presentation are posted on the CTG Workgroup Wiki which you can access by following a link posted on the District Coordinator Wiki on the ACET page. For non CTG participants the link is: h.org/PA-+ACET h.org/PA-+ACET If you have any questions about the information provided in this presentation, please contact Doug Beck at or


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