Lamoille County Planning Commission


Healthy Community Design

The physical design of our communities affects our health every time we step out of our front doors. Sometimes making healthy choices is not easy—being physically active is hard if you do not have access to walkways or parks, and eating right is hard if healthy foods are not available. "Healthy Community Design" is all about linking public health and planning with the built and social environments—it's not just where buildings are located, but what we do as a culture and value as a community.

Specifically, Healthy Community Design includes:

  • Linking public health surveillance with community design decisions;
  • Improving community design decisions through tools such as a Health Impact Assessment;
  • Educating decision makers on the health impact of community design;
  • Building partnerships with community design decision makers and planners;
  • Conducting research to identify the links between health and community design; and
  • Translating research into best practices.


Healthy community design can improve people’s health by:

  • Increasing physical activity;
  • Reducing injury;
  • Increasing access to healthy food;
  • Improving air and water quality;
  • Minimizing the effects of climate change ;
  • Decreasing mental health stresses;
  • Strengthening the social fabric of a community; and
  • Providing fair access to livelihood, education, and resources.

LCPC is working on Healthy Community Design through a number of program areas, planning documents, and ongoing projects. For example, Transportation Planning includes wide shoulders for walking and biking on state and local roads, encouraging bicycling and ride sharing as alternative methods to driving alone in a car; or making sure recreation paths, sidewalks, and trails all connect without interruption. We work with municipalities to address health and wellness in municipal plans. Community visioning projects connect our food system—the agricultural production and what we eat—with a town's identity, entrepreneurship, and school classrooms. Even zoning and regulatory documents influence how buildings are built to encourage easier movement, where parks are, and more! 

For more information...



Do you have a favorite Healthy Community Design resource to highlight? Email lcpc@lcpcvt.org.