Healthy Active By Design national website launch

We are pleased to launch our new national website for Australians concerned with, or working in the creation of, liveable places and spaces.

Healthy Active by Design aims to champion change in the way Australia designs and builds its environments to support the health of communities across the country.

This website, which launched nationally on March 28th, is a tool to help urban planners and related design professionals create built environments that encourage people to lead healthy and active lives.

With physical inactivity being the leading risk factor for heart disease, the development of healthy neighbourhoods that promote walking, cycling and public life is more important than ever.

Heart Foundation Healthy Living Manager Roni Beauchamp said the built environment in which we live, work and learn, has a profound influence on our ability to lead heart healthy lives.

“Designers, urban planners and those who create our cities can play a crucial role in shaping the elements that are conducive to healthy living – such as enhancing people’s opportunity to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines,” Ms Beauchamp said.  

New features and design tools

A key feature of the new site is the “state selector” which will allow users to filter content based on location, and see the best available evidence, practical advice, resources and case studies, all of which have been categorised into seven key design features.

These design features have been identified as ones that support healthy and active living: Public Open Space, Community Facilities, Buildings, Destinations, Movement Networks, Housing Diversity and Sense of Place. Each design feature provides a useful summary of the best evidence available to help demonstrate its importance in supporting active living.

One of the world’s leading urban planners, Canadian Brent Toderian, was in Melbourne as a guest of the Heart Foundation for the Victorian launch of the website and says that cities today have designed physical activity out of daily life.

“The biggest problem is car dependency. With that people tend to be more over weight and preventable diseases are higher. Australia has a big problem with obesity and preventable diseases that are directly related to how we design our communities.”

He says cities need to be built to enable people to walk, bike and transit more in their daily lives. This brings not only a huge advantage to personal health, but also significantly lowers public health costs, reduces climate change and brings a massive change to debilitating  public infrastructure costs.

We hope that this website will provide the tools and evidence needed to support the creation of healthy, active communities. Enabling all Australians to incorporate valuable exercise into their daily lives.

Healthy Active by Design (HAbD) has been developed by the Heart Foundation in collaboration with the following agencies:

  • Department of Health
  • Department of Planning
  • Department of Sport and Recreation
  • Department of Transport
  • Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority
  • Planning Institute of Australia
  • Centre for Built Environment and Health (CBEH)