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Welcome to the healthy communities toolkit


Resources for small, rural communities in New England and beyond.

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Welcome to the healthy communities toolkit


Resources for small, rural communities in New England and beyond.

About Healthy Communities and the Toolkit

 

What are Healthy Communities?

Healthy communities are places that offer opportunities to maintain a good state of health including physical activity (such as walking) and healthy foods (such as those available at farmer’s markets).

How This Toolkit Came About

The Mission of the Eastern Highlands Health District (EHHD) is to enhance the quality of life in its communities through the prevention of illness, promotion of wellness, and protection of our human environment. In 2015, in partnership with the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA), EHHD was awarded a Plan4Health grant by the American Planning Association (APA) and the American Public Health Association (APHA). The focus of this grant is to support EHHD/CCAPA efforts to increase physical activity and access to healthy foods in the region’s towns by helping them link their planning and public health programs with a focus on healthier communities

This toolkit is designed to support the EHHD region towns, as well as any other small, rural towns, in these efforts. The EHHD and its CHART Coalition are actively working to help their communities create places where residents will have more opportunities to be physically active, eat healthy foods, and have fun!

 

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WHY Healthy communities matter


...to small and rural towns!

WHY Healthy communities matter


...to small and rural towns!

Communities with ample opportunities to get and stay healthy are more desirable places to live. They offer clean air and water, ample food choices, places to walk and bicycle comfortably, and places for recreation. Healthy places attract new residents and in doing so, become more lively and dynamic.

New businesses that serve people engaged in healthy lifestyles are attracted to those communities and can enrich the local economy. A healthier population can reduce burden on local governments for health and social services. Where quality of life is elevated, in part with healthy options, redevelopment and restoration efforts tend to be more successful long-term.

In rural and small towns, creating healthier communities can be of particular importance. Where homes and businesses are far apart from one another, the car becomes the easiest way to get from one destination to another. Walking and bicycling may be more difficult and most often takes place in the shoulders of the road. Safety becomes a concern. In addition, many small towns struggle to keep a successful variety of food stores with healthy options in the community.

The opportunities to get outside and be physically active in rural communities can be abundant. Making those outdoor spaces accessible often depends on proactive local programs. 


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What's In This Toolkit?


What's In This Toolkit?


  • A compilation of various tools to help people make their communities healthier places to live, work, and play.
  • Planning and regulatory tools focused on growing options for physical activity and access to local, healthy foods; in particular, tools for local officials who make land development decisions in small and rural Connecticut towns. Visit the Land Use Quick Guide page to learn more.


 

 

the context

This website delves into key topics within one component - Physical Wellness - of the multi-faceted goal of community wellness.

 

 

 

 

 


local land use quick guide

Credit: EHHD

Credit: EHHD

Local Planning and Zoning Commissions and their advisory committees have a unique opportunity to encourage land development that incorporates healthy options. For a quick guide to the overall roles and responsibilities of these commissions and how that creates those opportunities, visit the local Land Use Quick Guide page.

The Community Health Quick Audit was designed as an easy tool to to assess your community's health with regard to physical activity and access to healthy foods. Click here to complete an assessment to better understand the assets and needs unique to your community.

 

Photo credits, from top: Kim Bova (Celebrate Mansfield Festival), John Murphy III (farmer's market), Jerry Dougherty (green beans); Row of buttons: Green Lane Project (bicyclist), Heather Brandon (farmer at market), Patrick Dugan (girl with cart).