The United States of America is in the midst of a health crisis. Rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease are at epidemic proportions across the country. The crisis is hitting marginalized and disadvantaged populations especially hard. The growth in childhood obesity, which can have grave, long-term health impacts, is especially alarming. Research shows that this public health crisis has been largely caused by auto-centric development and lifestyles that limit physical activity, and the lack of access to healthy and affordable food for all socio-economic groups.
Through our new Healthy Places Program, PPS is promoting a holistic approach to address our nation’s public health issues by planning active transportation systems that connect to key destinations, including healthy food hubs that eliminate food deserts and support local business. In doing so, we can simultaneously encourage physical activity and healthy eating – while also revitalizing our streets, parks and gathering spaces, which serves the larger purpose of strengthening entire communities and regions.
PPS has long said that “if you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.” The PPS approach is to plan streets for people and places; this approach has the ability to improve the safety of our streets, increase walking, biking and transit use, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, enhance sustainability, and make local and regional communities more resilient. By using innovative approaches that connect transportation and land use, our transportation program develops active transportation plans for urban, suburban, or rural communities at a scale that is right for them.
Public Markets and Healthy Food Hubs
The aim of PPS’ Public Market Program is to foster the role of public markets in reconnecting local economies and communities and to support the pivotal role that markets, from temporary, seasonal farmers markets to indoor, year-round public markets, play in supporting public health and local food systems.
Building off of our work with traditional public markets, PPS is now working with communities to develop Healthy Food Hubs which encompass a wide mix of uses, business relationships, and activities that make the Hub a community gathering place and a destination that can serve as an economic development catalyst for a neighborhood. Healthy Food Hubs provide opportunities for communities with limited food access to buy healthy and affordable food, locally sourced, on a year-round basis, while providing “one stop shopping” to make it easy for people to access health services, clinics, Federal nutrition assistance sign-up, business incubation, cooking classes, and a variety of other mutually supportive local activities. They can be designed with public gathering spaces, and connect to transit stops.
By focusing our transportation and markets approach on place, we are able to break down silos between government agencies, as well as between government, the private sector, and communities. Breaking down silos allows everyone to works towards the same public health goals in a meaningful way, as opposed to typical discipline driven processes that leads to competing interests and inefficient programs. Most of all, place-based planning and investment restores confidence and creates pride in community and neighborhoods – itself an indicator of good public health.
Quick Impact Workshops
Jump start your placemaking project with a one to three-day intensive site visit including PPS presentations and a community Healthy Places workshop.
Healthy Places Plans
Launch a city- or district-wide Healthy Places program using the Healthy Places Audit and the “Power of 10” as the guiding framework. PPS will work with the community to identify “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” strategies to:
- Create “Streets as Places” that draw pedestrians, bicyclists, and become community centers.
- Animating parks and public spaces as community places
- Developing farmers markets as “Healthy Food Hubs”
Trainings and Conferences
Work with PPS to develop a customized Healthy Places training program to bring together public health officials, transportation practitioners, planners, and community stakeholders to find a common understanding of how they can improve public health. Training programs are one or two days, and involve presentations and interactive site analysis with training participants.
Attend our two upcoming national conferences which will both have important public health tracks:
- Pro Walk, Pro Bike 2012 (September 10-13, 2012—Long Beach, California)
- 8th International Public Markets conference (September 21-23, 2012 – Cleveland, Ohio)
Tools & Resources
Active Living Resource Center
PPS, through its resident program – the National Center for Bicycling & Walking – hosts the Active Living Resource Center, which provide extensive information about how to make a your neighborhood and community a healthier place to live and work.
Healthy Places Audit
Building off of our successful public space evaluation tools, the Healthy Places Program has created a new tool, the Healthy Places Audit which communities can use to determine the health of their neighborhood and help facilitate a discussion on what actions can be taken in the short and long term to improve public health.
- SNAP/EBT at your Farmers Market: Seven Steps to Success
- Kellogg Diversifying Farmers Market Report
- For the Health of It
- Increasing Physical Activity Through Community Design: A Guide for Public Health Practitioners and Livable Community Advocates
- Great Corridors, Great Communities: The Quiet Revolution in Transportation Planning
- A Citizens Guide to Better Streets: How to Engage your Transportation Agency
- Streets as Places
- Public Markets and Community Health: An Examination
- Public Markets and Community-Based Food Systems
- EMR Research Links BMI and Farmer’s Markets
- Birmingham Public Markets Study
- Kaiser Permanente Farmers Market Network, Nationwide
- NYC Food & Fitness Partnership, New York, NY
- Camden AHEC, Camden, NJ
- Fondy Food Center, Milwaukee, WI
- Athens Farmers Market, Athens, OH
- Developing Public Participation Tools in Transit Dependent Communities
- New York City Streets Renaissance
- Transit Oriented Development for the Tappan Zee Bridge Corridor