Healthy Active by Design

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1 Government of Western Australia Department of Education Department of Health Department of Planning Department of Sport and Recreation Department of Transport Healthy Active by Design A Western Australian project to designing places for active and healthy living June 2012

2 Project Overview What? Currently in Western Australia, there is limited guidance and criteria to apply strategic planning tools and design specification to support active living. In response to this, the Heart Foundation in collaboration with key stakeholders has established the Healthy Active by Design project (HABD) to develop a guide and website that links planning and health to support physical activity. The project is currently under development and due for completion by August It is intended that the guide, supported by effective polices across sectors, will contribute to improved health and wellbeing outcomes, and more sustainable communities. This is of particular relevance in Western Australia which covers a diverse area of metropolitan, regional and rural areas and is undergoing rapid population growth. Why? The design of spaces and places play an important role in active living a way of life that integrates physical activity into daily routines. There is overwhelming evidence which demonstrates that the built environment not only impacts on active lifestyle choices but on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Where we live, learn, work and play can directly affect participation in physical activity. Research shows that active lifestyles can be encouraged by the design and location of streets, parks, recreational facilities, homes, schools, the workplace, and retail areas. Spaces and places need to be well planned and designed environments that support, encourage and enable active living - walking, cycling, getting outdoors and being social to deliver the range of benefits that physical activity provides. Active communities have healthier residents, are more connected, safer, cohesive and productive, and reduce the environmental impact of car dependence. Who? Primarily, this guide is intended to assist planners, urban designers and developers to create active and healthy spaces and places. However, all sectors and settings have a role to play in understanding and influencing the built environment councillors, health professionals, managers, workplaces and schools can all get involved. How to Apply? The well illustrated comprehensive resource will introduce a number of design elements which are considered to promote healthy and active communities. Each of these will include the following components for the user to consider when providing input and advice to developments: Evidence from an international and national base Policy fit and alignment from a planning, health and transport agenda Checklists which will include criteria against which healthy and active communities can be assessed Case studies which will demonstrate a range of best practice examples. These components will also demonstrate how the built environment can influence healthy behaviours through the role of complementary public education and promotion including signage and promotional campaigns. Compact mixed use developments can contribute to physical activity through the promotion of cycling walking and less use of the car. 1 2

3 Emerging Design Elements The following emerging design elements provide a preliminary snapshot of design principles to consider when planning and developing places and spaces. The key considerations are identified in the National Healthy Spaces and Places guide as key success factors for achieving built environments that promote health and active living. These elements will help form the basis for further development and will be reviewed as part of the Healthy Active by Design project. Design Elements Design Objectives Key Considerations Local Access Co-location To increase residential density, intensity of land-use and active transport networks to support local businesses, employment, education, cultural and recreational opportunities, and frequent accessible public transport. To encourage groupings of key destination points within close proximity of each other to improve accessibility, integrated facilities and multiple uses of space and travel networks. Locate higher residential densities near activity centres and along public transport routes to maximise access and convenience to services. Locate medium density development in areas of high amenity, which may coincide with activity centres or neighbourhood parks, as well as in close proximity to public transport routes. Provide mixed density residential development within walking distance of public areas including open space and a variety of places for social interaction; key destinations, such as shops, schools and medical centres; and accessible public transport. Mixed density developments should be integrated with surrounding development, public transport and with supporting infrastructure including walkways, public areas and cycle paths. Provide a range of development types and densities (including residential) that allow for a mix of day and night time activities. Integrate new development with existing developments and surrounding transport networks. Pay attention to lighting, street furniture, signage, footpath treatment and safe road crossings to ensure a safe and convivial space is provided for all users. Provide open space and recreation areas especially for children and their carers. Locate developments within walking distance of bus or tram stops (400 m) or train stations (up to 800 m). A mix of land uses, including residential, and access to the shops and services required for daily living that is well integrated with public transport, designed to maximise surveillance and designed to be safe from traffic will support the use of active forms of transport. 3

4 Design Elements Design Objectives Key Considerations Traffic Management Welcoming Paths To manage vehicle traffic to provide safe environments for walking, cycling and other physical activities. To provide an accessible, attractive and welcoming street environment, with well maintained footpaths for all users. Prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and public transport above car use in transport policy. Design streets that promote vehicle speeds of no more than 30 km per hour in residential streets, strip shopping and around major trip generators (e.g. schools). Provide high quality pedestrian and bicycle facilities to service major trip generation locations such as schools, hospitals and shopping precincts. Encourage on-street car parking to calm traffic speeds, support retail and commercial businesses and provide a buffer between pedestrians and roads. Provide street crossings on busy streets and in the vicinity of major trip generators including schools, hospitals, shops, parks and public transport stops. Make walking and cycling the preferred mode of transport by providing: high levels of amenity, especially to key destinations such as workplaces, schools, shops, and parks; mixed land uses and densities to support active transport; and choices of destinations. Focus the structure planning process around the needs of active transport at the regional and local level to ensure active transport is the base from which the access and movement strategy is built. Every day, Perth residents make more than 400,000 private car trips of less than one kilometre (equivalent of a 10 minute walk). 2 4

5 Design Elements Design Objectives Key Considerations Connected Streets and Linked Communities Healthy Active School Design To create connected street networks that allow pedestrians and cyclists to take more direct routes to and from destinations. To make travel between neighbourhoods easier by ensuring pedestrian and cycle networks are interconnected and provide access to frequent accessible public transport services. To design and locate schools to facilitate young people s active transport to school, and physical activity while at school. Provide a variety of local destinations within easy walking distance (400 m is a comfortable walking distance for most people). Design street layout based on grids with spacing of m to provide an optimum network for pedestrian and vehicular needs. Provide off-road pedestrian and cycle networks in non-grid or curvilinear street layouts. Provide interconnected network of walking and cycling routes to service local destinations. Provide active transport routes along predictable paths of travel, such as to schools, recreation facilities and shops. Mixed development neighbourhoods should cover a 400 m radius (about 5 minutes walk). When identifying new sites or designing new schools, the school should be: Centrally located for the school catchment with appropriate design of surrounding roads, and pedestrian and cycle networks to provide safe access to routes to the school. On accessible and through streets but not heavily trafficked to minimise traffic congestion around the school. Linked to public transport where suitable, especially for secondary schools. Co-located with other community facilities (sports facilities, libraries and performing arts) to develop a focal point for the community. Co-located with and sharing with public playfields. 5

6 Design Elements Design Objectives Key Considerations Functional Public Open Space Community Safety To design multipurpose public open spaces that are functional and accessible and cater for the needs of children, adolescents, adults and seniors of all abilities. To create communities where people feel safe in their homes, in the local streets and neighbourhood public spaces. Provide good quality open space and trails that protect and enhance the environmental, cultural and heritage values of an area. Ensure parks and open space are safe, well maintained and actively managed. Increase usability by ensuring that open space is: of a sufficient size and shape to cater for the intended use of the site; adaptable and maximises the range of possible uses available ensuring equitable opportunities for all users; and shared with a number of user groups, e.g. school ovals form a part of the open space network and are available out of school hours for community use, allowing for the efficient use of land. Ensure that routes have good sightlines to entrances and exits with landscaping pruned to ensure that sightlines are clear. Light public spaces and routes used at night to improve safety and surveillance and increase usage. Design buildings to provide active frontage and natural surveillance of the street (e.g. windows overlooking footpaths and building entrances facing the street that are easily visible and accessible from the street). Locate parks, play areas and public open spaces so they are visible from adjoining buildings such as houses, streets and schools. Consult with community, service providers, government agencies and the private sector about the type and level of facilities required in the community to support active living. For children and adolescents, living within 800 m of parks or sports centres increases the likelihood that they will use these facilities, and walk or cycle to/from them. 3 6

7 Design Elements Design Objectives Key Considerations Food Access Building and Design Location To ensure that urban design and the built environment does not inhibit but encourages healthy eating. This includes consideration of aspects of the food supply including food production, processing and transportation, consumer access and utilisation, and waste management. Buildings and facilities should provide opportunities for physical activity through ensuring that the design, layout and location enhances amenity and provides an accessible environment for all. Preserve agricultural land in urban areas and promote policies to encourage local food production. Utilise zoning and regulatory measures to address land use, advertising and availability of types of food outlets in specific areas. Consider breast feeding policies in design requirements for public buildings and spaces. Improve access to food supply transport planning. Promote inclusive design of buildings as a key principle of the planning system. Prioritise pedestrian, cycling and public transport access in the design and layout of buildings and facilities. Integrate cycle storage and parking facilities into the design and location of buildings and facilities. Provide facilities and spaces in workplaces that promote physical activity such as changing facilities and gymnasiums. Ensure Disability Access and Inclusion Plans address physical activity issues. Provide a safe and accessible network of travel routes to and from buildings and facilities. Increase stair usage through location, design and appropriate promotional signage. 7

8 Resources Phase one of the project identified a number of resources and tools. Below is a preliminary list for useful reference: Healthy Spaces & Places, a national guide to designing places for healthy living Creating Places for People, an urban design protocol for Australia WA Planning and Designing for Pedestrians, guidelines for the design and construction of pedestrian facilities and a Walkability Audit Tool, to identify issues to improve pedestrian safety, accessibility, amenity and identify appropriate countermeasures Designing Out Crime, guidelines to improve neighbourhoods security and surveillance Liveable Neighbourhoods, an operational policy for the design and assessment of structure plans and subdivisions in WA Active Living impact checklist; Creating Healthy Neighbourhoods, consumer preferences for healthy development; Neighbourhood Walkability checklist; The built environment and walking position statement Further Information If you would like to find out more about the Healthy Active by Design project please contact the: Heart Foundation Jo Appleby Planning for Active Living Manager or or visit Published: June 2012 Photos: Some photos in this publication were provided by TPG Photography, and Healthy Spaces & Places References: 1 McCormack, G.R., B. Giles-Corti, and M. Bulsara, The relationship between destination proximity, destination mix and physical activity behaviors. Preventive Medicine, Department of Transport (formerly Department of Planning and Infrastructure), Perth and Regions Travel Survey (PARTS) , Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Government 3 Epstein, L.H., et al., Reducing Sedentary Behavior: The Relationship Between Park Area and the Physical Activity of Youth. Psychol Sci, Sponsored by

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