Everyday Destinations

Project Overview

Figure 1. Active People, Healthy Nation℠ identifies seven strategies to increase physical activity. Source: CDC

This project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO). DNPAO leads Active People, Healthy Nation℠, a national initiative that aims to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Based on evidence from the Community Preventive Services Task Force, Active People, Healthy Nation identified seven strategies to increase physical activity, based on equitable and inclusive access (Figure 1).

This blog post series supports one of the strategies — Activity Friendly Routes to Everyday Destinations — which focuses on connecting accessible and inclusive everyday destinations, such as grocery stores, schools, parks, housing, community facilities, and places of employment, through a network of routes that support safe and accessible opportunities to walk, bike, roll, and use public transit.

About This Blog Series

This blog series describes 15 planning approaches that can be implemented in small and rural communities by professionals with the ability to influence the policies and processes that shape the built environment with support from public health experts. These approaches create new networks of accessible and inclusive destinations or reimagine existing destinations. When planning and implementing the approaches, special considerations must be made to ensure decisions are made and supported by community members, local partners, and civic leaders. Together, these community representatives can ensure projects meet local needs and do not perpetuate historical inequities that have benefitted small segments of the population while adversely impacting others.

Everyday Destinations Blog Posts

Strategic Points of Intervention

The Five Strategic Points of Intervention is a framework that presents options to improve health, safety, and wellbeing of community members. This framework is applicable to planners, in collaboration with community members, partners, civic leaders, and other professionals, including public health. Although these points of intervention are aligned with planning roles, public health and related professionals play an important part in sharing their expertise and skills to achieve this goal. By being aware of land use, design, and planning processes, public health and other built environment professionals can be better prepared to participate in these processes. These groups can contribute to policies, processes, and programs that promote access to a network of accessible and inclusive everyday destinations. The blog posts use this framework to list actions that these groups can employ across sectors to create a network of everyday destinations that are easily accessible.

In the context of this blog series, the strategic points of intervention can be described as follows:

  • Community visioning and goal setting. Focuses on creating a shared vision and goals based on community input. Outputs from this work, such as vision statements, can serve as a foundation for future planning activities.
  • Plan making. Expands a community's vision and goals by identifying current conditions, selecting opportunities to advance community desires, and creating plans that identify partnerships, timelines, and implementation strategies. Comprehensive planning is an example of this point of intervention.
  • Regulations, standards, and incentives. Connects planning with implementation by adopting requirements on what, where, and how developments get built and preserved. Updates to zoning regulations and urban design standards are examples of this point of intervention.
  • Development work. Focuses on the options to work with developers and partners for project implementation. Development review, a process that involves reviewing proposed developments for alignment with a community's regulations and plans, is an example of this point of intervention.
  • Public investments. Creates opportunities for publicly led projects, such as construction of infrastructure and community facilities. Public investments can also encourage private-sector involvement to advance community goals, including walkability. Capital improvement plans are examples of this point of intervention.

Factors to Consider When Selecting or Using Planning Approaches

For each planning approach mentioned on this page, public health and built environment professions will need to consider available resources for implementation. Each approach will also require different levels of implementation effort and may vary depending on local conditions, such as available funding, resources to access technical assistance, presence or absence of existing partnerships, and agility to make local regulatory changes.

Further, communities interested in implementing these approaches need to consider factors that can impact projects. Development trends, including demand for commercial and residential space, play a significant role in selecting suitable planning approaches. A community's history of collaboration with its community members, partners, and local leaders will also affect project completion. Community values and support for specific approaches can influence how communities create and enhance everyday destinations. Because of all these factors, community leaders can expect variations in effort, time, and funding required to implement any given planning approach.

Another aspect to consider while using these approaches is that some strategies have caused disproportionate benefits and adverse impacts by neighborhood. For example, many developments were intentionally designed to benefit affluent communities with greater access to quality homes, jobs, goods, and services. Other approaches, while well-intentioned, have led to unintended consequences, such as gentrification and displacement. Thus, both the intentional and unintended impacts, both positive and negative, of current and future projects need to be considered. Solutions to avoid and minimize harmful consequences should be implemented, as appropriate, while executing these approaches.

Additional Considerations

Throughout the blog series, think about the following overarching considerations.

  • Resources and people participating in the processes will vary across communities; however, it is important to keep community members and local partners at the center of decision-making processes to contribute to the suitability, viability, and sustainability of activities that aim to create a network of everyday destinations that people can access by different modes of active transportation.
  • Communities may want to consider safeguards to avoid unintended sprawl due to new developments. Local partners should compare the benefits of implementing any planning approach with potential impacts on valued community characteristics, infrastructure demands, and environmental impacts.
  • Small and rural communities may be motivated to protect community character. Communities should assess what key community features are valued by all community members and partners. Identifying these key features may require conversations, recognition of past injustices, compromises, and expansion of decision-making processes to ensure that recognized community perspectives are representative of all members.
  • Communities may want to consider how destinations are connected through routes. Everyday destinations that are not connected with activity-friendly routes will not encourage active lifestyles. Although the focus of this blog post series is on creating a connected network of new or existing destinations, these planning approaches can be amplified through infrastructure investments that provide safe access to multimodal transportation options.
  • In small and rural communities, community members may express concerns regarding new developments or improvements to existing developments that may impact population size, traffic, or demand for services. It is important to weigh these concerns with population trends and projections to ensure the community is prepared for future needs.
  • Small and rural communities with declining populations may have different priorities than communities experiencing growth. Under these conditions, communities may choose to prioritize planning approaches that build on existing community assets.
  • This blog series emphasizes health and physical activity. However, the selected planning approaches can bring a variety of benefits beyond these, such as social, environmental, and economic benefits. Equally important are adverse impacts, which must be accounted for by identifying strategies to avoid or minimize disproportionate effects on distinct community groups.
  • Projects should consider existing local conditions, including development patterns and existing infrastructure, before selecting strategies to support a connected network of everyday destinations.
  • New and existing businesses can provide greater economic benefits to a community by hiring locally. Project teams may consider adding requirements or incentives to increase local hiring, a practice that can bring additional economic benefits to the community.

Concepts Used in This Blog Series

This section explains different terms that have been used on this page. The definitions below either provide project-specific criteria or are used throughout most planning approaches.

  • Planning process participants: This grouping refers to the multiple contributors that collaborate to advance planning activities, including planners, public health professionals, practitioners from other built environment professions that influence the built environment, advisors, advocates, decision makers, and community members.
  • Comprehensive plans: A comprehensive plan is an adopted local or regional plan that presents a framework for future growth and change within a jurisdiction to be implemented through regulations, public investments, and programs over a 20-to-40-year period.
  • Functional plans: A functional plan provides recommendations and actions for systems and topics with spatial planning implications but is not connected to a specific subarea or jurisdiction.
  • Subarea plans: A subarea plan provides goals, objectives, policy recommendations, and actions for a specific area or district.
  • Partners: This category includes community contributors, such as business owners, local organizations, institutions, affiliated professionals, and experts.
  • Project team: This term refers to professionals, partners, and community members that are leading the design, adoption, and implementation of a planning approach. This team may vary depending on factors such as project scale, funding sources, partner capacity, and local government structure.

For an additional information on concepts used by built environment professionals, see the Making Healthy Places Glossary.