Healthy Built Environment

The goal of the Healthy Built Environment (HBE) Work Group of LiveWell Douglas County is to increase opportunities for physical activity that promotes healthy, active lifestyles. 

We promote active lifestyles by working with policymakers to increase and improve trails, sidewalks, public transit, parks and other community resources. Built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for activity, ranging from buildings and parks to neighborhood streets and transportation systems.

The HBE group supports local efforts to build and maintain sidewalks where people can safely walk, roll, or use other forms of active transportation, build and maintain bikeways where people can safely ride bicycles, and facilitate environments where people can more easily walk, bike, and or use other forms of active transportation to get to priority destinations like work, school, grocery stores and other food resources, recreation, shopping, etc.

We're are actively engaged in the development of safe routes for bicycling and walking to school, work, recreation sites and other destinations as well as:

  • Increasing the number of streets with sidewalks and supporting repair/maintenance of existing sidewalks;
  • Completing construction of planned bikeway networks in the county,
  • Increasing the number of Douglas County children who walk and bike to school,
  • Decreasing non-motorized fatalities and serious injuries on public roads in the county, and
  • Increasing the percentage of area residents who participate in recommended levels of physical activity.

Strategy and Opportunities

Strategy: Make it easier for residents to walk, bike, and wheel to everyday destinations.

Opportunities for Community Action

  • Create new (or modify existing) advisory committees to make recommendations to local governing bodies regarding issues that affect people walking, biking, using assistive devices, and taking public transit
  • Expand and promote increased availability and use of active transportation networks, including development of safe routes for walking and biking to school and other destinations, including jobs, affordable housing, health care, grocery stores, recreational, cultural and arts amenities, tourist attractions, natural sites and more
  • Create/improve sidewalk infrastructure
  • Create/improve trail infrastructure
  • Promote and advocate for an inclusive approach to planning, designing and managing public facilities (including recreation areas, schools, etc.) that meet or exceed Americans with Disability Act (ADA) standards and incorporates principles of universal design to provide the greatest level of access to all users
  • Promote and advocate for healthy community design policies and practices that encourage and support physical activity
  • Increase the variety of physical activity opportunities, including indoor opportunities, parks, and open spaces, and provide additional information about these opportunities in a community-wide campaign

Strategy and Opportunities for Community Action are identified in the Douglas County Community Health Plan.

Recent Workgroup Accomplishments

The Healthy Built Environment Work Group, through the coalition’s Pathways grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, supported the development of on-bike safety education at Baldwin Junior High and funded the purchase of fleet of bicycles used for the program.

LiveWell Annual Celebration Breakfast Awards

As part of its annual celebration, on Friday, November 19, the LiveWell Douglas County coalition awarded Culture of Health Action Awards to both coalition members and community partners whose efforts have helped improve the health and well-being of Douglas County residents. 

Healthy Built Environment honored several long-time leaders of the Work Group. Dot Nary, Chris Tilden, and Gary Webber have all been actively involved in the “HBE” Work Group almost from its inception, have served in work group leadership roles (including work group chair) and have been engaged in countless efforts in Lawrence and Douglas County to build a stronger network for walking and biking both as a form of recreation and transportation.

Resources

For more information about joining, go to Get Involved.

Work Group Leadership

  • Interim Chair: Chris Tilden, KU Center for Public Partnerships & Research
  1. Pathways to a Healthy Kansas

    Representatives of LiveWell Douglas County met with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas’ Pathways to a Healthy Kansas to plan initiatives for 2023. The coalition will be looking to distribute as much as $250,000 to community partners to support key projects. Read on...
  2. Ribbon Cutting Held on Newest Loop Segment

    A ribbon cutting ceremony for the newest segment of the Lawrence Loop was held on October 22nd. The new segment runs from Peterson Park to North Michigan Street. Read on...
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