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Better By Design: A New Series on the Built Environment and Health in Colorado

The word “health” probably brings to mind a visit to the doctor, health insurance or a prescription for medicine. But many other things influence good health.

For instance, the physical environment matters. A lot.

Where we live, how we interact with our community, and what policies exist to shape our environment each play into our well-being, probably more than many people think.

The Urban Land Institute, LiveWell Colorado and the Colorado Health Foundation are just a few organizations investigating the connection between health and what is known as the “built environment.” They are moving beyond the doctor’s office and emphasizing the importance of such things as workplace wellness, access to parks and areas with good lighting and safe sidewalks, and the prevalence of community gardens and stores offering healthy food.

With this in mind, the Colorado Health Institute is offering a series titled “Better by Design: Building Colorado Communities with Health in Mind.”

These two-page reports by Legislative Director and Policy Analyst Allie Morgan and Public Interest Fellow Maggie Bailey will cover different aspects of the built environment. We’ll explore how the design of our communities affects health outcomes. We’ll also spotlight examples of cities, organizations and projects in Colorado that show the connection at work in the real world.

In our first report, we dive into walkability, or how easy it is to get to our daily destinations by foot. Following walkability, we’ll cover transportation, affordable housing, food access and financial incentives for investing in a built environment that promotes healthy lifestyles.

Join us as we travel throughout the state, finding local efforts that show the importance of the built environment to Coloradans’ life spans and wellness.