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Am J Prev Med. 2009 Dec;37(6 Suppl 2):S403-11. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.09.026.

Active Seattle: achieving walkability in diverse neighborhoods.

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  • 1Public Health/Seattle and KingCounty (Shumann), Seattle, Washington, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Active Living by Design project based in Seattle (Active Seattle) advocated for policies and projects in diverse communities supporting a more walkable city, while using social marketing and education to get more people walking more often.

INTERVENTION:

Walking audits were carried out in select diverse neighborhoods, resulting in recommendations for policy change and built-environment improvements. Advocacy for city-scale policies also occurred. Walking maps and other social-marketing products promoted behavior change. Major Safe Routes to School activities occurred and were made possible by separate funding sources.

RESULTS:

Positive results of Active Seattle included an increase in funding for pedestrian infrastructure, a pedestrian master plan, a Complete Streets policy, substantial increase in Safe Routes to School activity, and institutionalization of active living and active transportation within partner agencies. Challenges included institutional prioritization for improving pedestrian infrastructure, funding inequity, and a community need that was greater than could be fulfilled.

LESSONS LEARNED:

Efforts to overcome funding inequities or other resistance to pedestrian-oriented physical projects will benefit from high-visibility campaigns that have a lasting impact on public perception and decision makers' political will. To reach vulnerable populations that have substantial barriers to increasing walking frequency, extensive staff time for outreach is needed. Changing the built environment to encourage walking may be a long-term solution in communities with diverse populations.

CONCLUSIONS:

Influencing and educating local government officials to make active living projects and policies a high budgetary priority is essential for large-scale impact and long-term change.

PMID:
19944941
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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