Don’t forget to submit your healthy communities idea

If you attended the 4th annual Arizona Healthy Communities Conference March 29th, you know it was an exciting day. We spent the day discussing how we can build communities of health and opportunity together. And if you stayed until the end of the day, you know that Vitalyst Health Foundation generously offered to help provide support for ideas coming out of this year’s Healthy Communities Conference. Vitalyst wants to support your work and can provide technical assistance and financial support. The foundation is offering mini-grants to help kickstart your …

Healthy Communities Highlight: Madison Heights

The old Madison Heights Apartments, near Van Buren Street and Dysart Road, consisted of 77 barrack-style units with evaporative/swamp coolers, no amenities, no community space, and challenges with infrastructure and flooding. The old units were demolished in 2015. In their place are 143 energy-efficient units with washers/dryers, dishwashers, and microwaves included. In addition, residents have access to community centers and play areas, as well as work force and job development programs and after-school tutoring. Madison Heights is something new: the first affordable housing project in …

2016 Year in Review

The Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities officially launched in November 2014. Since that time, we have engaged more than 40 different entities and organizations across the state from a variety of sectors. We have representatives from the housing, transportation, public health, economic development, and community development sectors. Our Steering Committee includes banks, hospitals, health insurers, government agencies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations. Despite only existing for only two years and having limited staff and financial resources, we have: Launched a Healthy Communities Institute, which consists of …

Health Mapping Every ZIP Code in Arizona

Like many places across the country, Arizonans had a real “aha” moment when the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the VCU Center on Society and Health released their life expectancy map for the Phoenix metro area last year. Their study showed a 14-year difference in life expectancy for zip codes that are only a fifteen-minute drive apart. These maps have been excellent at capturing people’s interest and helping them to understand that place matters to health . At the Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities, we’ve …

Using Complete Streets to encourage walking and bicycling

Some great lessons to take from another sunny state: Florida recently adopted a comprehensive statewide plan to implement Complete Streets. A number of cities in Arizona have Complete Streets policies, but we don’t have a statewide plan or policy.   This might sound familiar to many Arizonans: Florida’s metropolitan regions were built in the era of “forgiving design,” the theory that wide-open thoroughfares in urban areas are safer because they eliminate obstacles near the roadway. As studies have shown, this theory increases injuries and deaths, …

NYC active design lessons we can bring to Arizona

New York City might have a reputation for being one of the most walkable cities in the world, but they still are facing high rates of residents being overweight or obese. That’s why they’re rethinking city design to encourage physical activity. This great New York Times column shares how the city is designing for health by focusing on transportation, recreation, buildings and access to food. While New York City might be thousands of miles away from Arizona both geographically and metaphorically, they have a lot of good ideas that we can implement here, like creating …