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  Active design for a healthier community  


IMAGE - Healthy Communities 50  IMAGE:  Spotlight Award 

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, Thurston Thrives and partners hosted the 3rd annual Active Community Design forum in January 2021 for the public and local staff in development review & planning, parks, public works and transit agencies. The forum is an opportunity to learn about ways to move our communities toward more and more physically active environments. The public workshop featured a presentation by Dan Burden, a renowned proponent of walkable and livable communities, and you can view the videos and summary report of the event below.

3rd annual Active Community Design forum videos:

  • Introduction - Local context for the Active Community Design Forum "Building Healthier Community" Presentation
  • Part 1 - Dan Burden on Land Use, Blue Zones, and Active Communities
  • Part 2 - Dan Burden on Transportation and Active Communities

Report from 2021 Active Community Design Forum

Active Communities:  Active By Design & Walkable

Thurston County is trying to increase levels of physical activity among local residents. Walking is one of the easiest ways to be moderately physically active. Health professionals recommend engaging in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day, at least 10 minutes at a time, 5 or more days per week.

If more people walked each day, for exercise, commuting, errands or short trips in town, or even a stroll for fun, our community would be on the path to better health. Walking can reduce or delay the onset of life threatening chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

Some of the reasons people are not getting enough regular physical activity in Thurston County are the environments where people live or work and the walking conditions in neighborhoods.  To address this, local governments and community partners can work together to make environment and policy changes that make it easier for residents to be active. To learn more, click here...

What are Thurston Public Health and Community Partners Doing?

Thurston County partners with the Community Design Action Team of Thurston Thrives, including local and regional government members and area non-profits some of which are listed below, to identify ways to foster active community environments through land use and community design changes. This effort to boost activity works on policy changes and programs to improve connectedness and places, making our community more walkable.

In 2016, Thurston County was named a Healthy Community 50 finalist in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. The “Active Design for a Healthier Thurston County” project aims to increase access to and use of the trails in our community so as to make being physically active easier. A collaborative partnership has been conducting a trail walkshed analysis to identify opportunities to connect people better from where they live to the trails (or to destinations near the trails) via new or improved pathways and guide other improvements like benches and signage. These features will make it easier for people to get to the trails and be active, whether for recreation or transportation.

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services also works with local partners on Safe Routes to Schools projects to encourage more walking and bicycling to school and improve traffic safety for injury prevention.  In the past, Thurston County has worked with neighborhoods to conduct walkability assessments around the county, through the "Walkable Places Project." A walkability assessment gathers and organizes data that can be used to prioritize projects identifying issues in the neighborhood area that impede or promote physical activity. It also gets people out walking, learning about their neighborhood, and taking action to make it a more walkable place.

To find out more about active design, safe routes to school, or other walkability assessments and active community efforts in general, please contact us at (360) 867-2513.


Active Community Design Partners

The Evidence

Reducing sedentary behavior and increasing moderate physical activity have been shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and also help prevent obesity. 

Research has shown that residents in highly walkable neighborhoods engage in as much as 70 more minutes per week of physical activity when compared to residents living in less walkable neighborhoods.



Thank You Community Partners!

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  • Chris Hawkins
    Chronic Disease Prevention Program Manager
  • (360) 867-2513
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This page last updated: 01/28/22