Advocates

Advocating for healthy communities requires evidence-based recommendations to inform decision-makers and the general public. As an advocate, research can help you build your case, highlight success stories and give credibility to your cause. It is a powerful tool. Active Living Research has a wide variety of evidence demonstrating how environments and policies can help everyone be active.

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The Benefits of Street-Scale Features for Walking and Biking

Date: 
09/01/2015
Description: 

Maurer Braun, L. & Reed, A. (2015). The Benefits of Street-Scale Features for Walking and Biking. Washington, DC: American Planning Association.

Abstract: 

As the costs of physical inactivity become increasingly evident, and as planners, public health professionals, and others working in the field of active transportation strive to promote walking and biking, the necessity of retrofitting and updating street facilities and sidewalk features is apparent. The benefits of incorporating infrastructure that supports active transportation into our streetscapes are many. While efforts to encourage walking and biking often focus on physical activity benefits, it is important to recognize that investments in these travel modes offer a wider set of potential co-benefits for communities.

This literature review focuses on the benefits that may arise from investment in different types of street-scale features, either independently or in combination. The review considers not only potential impacts related to physical activity—which have been treated extensively in the literature to date—but also a variety of co-benefits including social cohesion, crime prevention and public safety, multimodal traffic safety, mental health, and economic effects. The review links these co-benefits to various types of street-scale features that encourage walking and biking, such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes, traffic calming, crossing aids, aesthetics and placemaking, public space, street trees, green infrastructure, and street furniture.

This analysis provides background information and supportive data for planners, transportation professionals, advocates, and policy makers working to encourage community design that promotes active transportation. Through this report, individuals working locally will be able to highlight the co-benefits of street-scale interventions that support walking and biking.

This report was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the Active Living Research program.

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New Research Shows Active Populations Create Winning Cities

Experts call on city leaders to make active cities a reality at summit in Bristol.

June 9, 2015 - Experts are gathering at a summit today to make the case that cities that encourage physical activity have a clear economic advantage.

Taking place in Bristol, UK, speakers from KPMG, The University of California, and the CBI, alongside Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson, will call on city leaders to make physical activity a priority and recognise the positive economic and social benefits that it can bring.

Influencing Active Living Policy and Practice: How Can I Improve My Pitch?

Description: 

Workshop at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Date: 
02/22/2015
Abstract: 

Researchers are often disappointed or frustrated that their research is ignored by policy-makers and practitioners. This partly stems from ‘the gap’ between researchers and policy-makers and a lack of understanding of the policy-making process. The aim of this workshop was to assist participants to understand how to better ‘pitch’ their ideas and research to active living decision-makers:  bureaucrats, practitioners and politicians. Workshop participants were invited to write a letter or email to a policy-makers, practitioner or bureaucrat requesting an opportunity to meet to discuss an issue, an opportunity for a collaboration, and/or a need for policy-reform. The letters were reviewed and all participants received feedback on their written communication. Four participants were also invited to present a five minute ‘pitch’. After receiving feedback, workshop participants worked together in four teams to discuss and distill key lessons about how a future pitch could be improved to achieve one’s goal.

Download the summary notes from the workshop: Strategies for an Effective Pitch

Authors: 
Billie Giles-Corti, PhD, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, The University of Melbourne; Peter McCue, Executive Officer, NSW Premier's Council for Active Living, Sydney, Australia; Tracy Delaney, PhD, Public Health Alliance of Southern California; William Fulton, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University
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Using Technology for Community-based Advocacy and Environmental Change: The Community Park Audit Tool App

Date: 
02/22/2015
Description: 

Workshop at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

This workshop provided participants with an overview of the Community Park Audit Tool (eCPAT) app and its utility in advocacy and community change efforts. The first segment of the workshop included an overview of research on advocacy, technology and civic engagement, and parks and physical activity. Part 2 consisted of an introduction to the eCPAT, including its development and content. Part 3 included onsite use of the eCPAT and debriefing in a local park. The final part of the workshop was an interactive discussion about how the eCPAT and similar tools can be used for advocacy and environmental change to promote public health.

Authors: 
Gina M. Besenyi, MPH, University of South Carolina; Sonja A. Wilhelm Stanis, PhD, University of Missouri; Andrew T. Kaczynski, PhD, University of South Carolina; Travis Smith, PhD, National Recreation and Park Assocaiton
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