Elwell Bostrom, H., Shulaker, B., Rippon, J., & Wood, R. (2017). Strategic and Integrated Planning for Healthy, Connected Cities: Chattanooga Case Study. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S115-S119.
The United States is facing unprecedented health challenges – such as obesity and cardiovascular disease – many of which are related to a lack of or insufficient physical activity. Maintaining or creating parks and other public recreation facilities that promote physical activity is particularly important for combating these. This brief describes a strategic planning initiative, known as “Healthy, Connected Chattanooga.” The City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, partnered with The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization, to analyze the city for physical activity opportunities and identify areas where interventions were of highest need. Interventions include the creation of new parks and the activation of existing ones through the installation of fitness facilities known as Fitness Zones®. Maps and an on-line decision-support tool (web portal) were developed between 2013 and 2015, and are being used by the city to make strategic investment decisions. The decision-support analysis described in this brief has engaged a wide variety of stakeholders, opened the door to a broader base of funding sources for health-related interventions, and provided evidence for discussions about equity, access to resources, and prioritization of future projects. This brief presents a framework for integrating scientific models with community and social metrics, enabling more complete and accurate understanding of cities and the identification of more equitable, strategic, and investable solutions to current and pressing challenges.