Cities and towns across the country are recognizing that to grow and thrive, they must support the quality of life and long-term health of all community members.
A pilot project called do.town demonstrated that engaging city leaders and community members in considering how to make their communities healthier results in exciting changes.
The mayors of three Twin Cities suburbs shared this vision, and they asked the Center for Prevention for help. The result was the do.town initiative. Launched in 2011, this 18-month program focused on creating community-level changes that would make healthy options more readily available.
Through deep community engagement supported by the Center, city leaders and residents worked together to achieve this vision in a number of ways, including:
- Advocating for transportation systems that support walking and biking.
- Committing more land use for community gardens and farmers markets.
- Working with a major hospital to establish a farmers market that is easily accessible to employees, visitors and nearby residents.
- Collaborating with parent groups and recreational facilities to offer healthier concession stand options.
- Helping local employers assess and develop plans to support employees’ efforts to eat well and be active
- Conducting telephone town halls and other events that support engagement of those who live in those suburbs.
By the end of the initiative, the cities of Bloomington, Richfield and Edina, Minn., had advanced more than 30 policy or systems changes and identified more than 4,000 supporters.
They continue to see residents voicing their support and commitment for healthier places to live, work and play.