A vision for an active, healthy community

An active, healthy community comprises of connected localities that contain an integrated mix of appropriate destinations (e.g. home, shops, schools, workplaces, services, parks, community farms/markets, and public transport nodes) that are connected to pedestrian-friendly streets to enable walking and cycling.

Each of these localities should form a self sufficient local economy that supports a diverse population with a variety of housing options. This diverse population should be empowered to engage in local and community-wide affairs such that participation and social inclusiveness are hallmarks of communities. This will mean that residents are partners in planning the future of our communities.

There should be no concentrations of disadvantage and all localities should have the same access to affordable, nutritious and fresh food including fruit and vegetables.

The design and infrastructure provided in communities will clearly reflect that transport priority is given to (in order of priority) pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, then cars. Streets should be designed for people not cars and the streetscape should invite people into it and encourage interaction with neighbours.

Nature will be ‘at every doorstep’ and all common routes and gathering places will have shade provided, and where appropriate edible landscapes (e.g. fruit and nut trees , herbs and traditional bush food) will be planted. Urban agriculture (e.g. community gardens and city farms) is encouraged, and good quality agricultural land is protected for food production.

Each locality will have an active ‘high street’ with features that encourage people to linger and interact. Breastfeeding facilities in community settings as the societal norm.

An active healthy community recognises the value of active and healthy living on the social and personal wellbeing of citizens. It provides opportunities for active living, healthy eating and social connectedness for all. The built and social environments are key focal points in creating active healthy communities.

The built environment includes land-use patterns, transport systems, urban design, green spaces and all buildings and spaces that are created by people (including schools, homes, workplaces, retail services and recreation areas). Elements in the social environment that influence participation in active healthy lifestyles include income, equity, culture and social support.

Sample vision and goal

A vision for an active healthy community can be as simple as:

  • Active, vibrant residential population.
  • Vibrant, healthy community.

A goal may be:

  • A physically active and healthy community.

Broader goals may include:

  • Community wellbeing.
  • Healthy community.
  • Social wellbeing.

Where a broader goal is used, consideration should be given to including strategy of promoting ‘active and healthy lifestyles’ or ‘physical activity and healthy eating’.

Ideas for creating a shared vision for active healthy living

A healthy city is an active city: A physical activity planning guide provides a range of ideas of visioning activities for your Local Government area. The following visioning activity is taken from this resource.

1. Look into the future

“It is 10 years from now and our community has just won a national award for being an active healthy community that enables all its citizens to be physically active and eat a healthy diet on a daily basis.”

“Imagine you are in a hot-air balloon floating over our community 15 years from today. Our community is known to be an ideal place for active and healthy living by all.”

2. Describe what you see.

Observe the total scene – people, places and happenings. Cruise down streets and visit parks, workplaces, health care facilities and schools. Check out modes of transport and council meetings. Observe what types of food and drinks people are eating. Listen to what the mass media are covering. Observe what older people and people with disabilities are doing. Smell the air, plants and green spaces; listen for laughter and road traffic noises. Draw what you see or write it down in short descriptive sentences.

3. Look backwards.

“If this were the future, and this vision has happened, what was done?”

“How did we get this outcome?”