Personal Health Care
Chronic Disease Prevention
  Active community environments and walkability  

Neighborhoods and other places that are walkable, in other words that the environment of which supports people walking easily and safely, have particular characteristics:

  • Adequate density (compact development where people live close together)
  • Diversity or mix of uses (different kinds of land use or development activity that put destinations within easy walking distance (usually considered to be - mile), and
  • Good design (smooth, level surfaces for accessibility to all people; safe street crossings; features that slow down vehicles)


Evidence on the Connection of Built Environment to Health (Physical Activity)

The evidence for the kinds of policies that increase active transportation (travel by walking, bicycling or transit) can be found in this summary from Active Living Research (ALR). The Center for ALR has a number of other studies and publications that provide the basis for understanding how we can create more physically active communities across the country.


There are a number of benefits of making these kinds of changes in addition to increasing physical activity. American Planning Association has summarized the findings of research on the benefits of built environment improvements that support walking and bicycling (active transportation).

 Additional resources will be added to this page over time, so please check back.

 For more information, please contact the Thurston Thrives Community Design Action Team


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