Healthy Active by Design hits NSW streets

An online program to help planners and designers improve the health of Australians by building physical activity-friendly communities will be officially launched in NSW at the Planning Institute of Australia’s NSW State Conference in Orange this week.

Unveiled nationally in May, the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Active by Design tool will be road-tested by NSW planners and delegates at the conference on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 September, 2018.

The website will be additionally showcased tomorrow (Tuesday 12 September), when delegates join a Healthy Active by Design “walkshop’’ around Central Orange.

Heart Foundation’s Director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, said Healthy Active by Design was created to provide a user-friendly bridge between community design and better health.

“It is fitting that Planning Institute of Australia conference delegates should be the first in NSW to learn about Healthy Active by Design, as planners are at the forefront of efforts to incorporate design features that improve health and wellbeing in cities and towns,” Professor Shilton said.

“Rates of overweight and obesity are on the rise,” Professor Shilton added.

“It’s essential we provide environments that prevent and reduce the effects of these and other conditions, which lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

“Globally, there is strong evidence on the link between health and the places where we live work and play, and that link is strongest for heart disease prevention.

“Planners, designers and local government officials are best placed to implement healthy design and they are seeking guidance about how to do it best.”

Healthy Active by Design includes summaries of the evidence about the influence of built environment decisions on health outcomes.

It also gives practical guidance on design features, inspiring local case studies, and high-quality examples of projects from around the world.

The program was produced in partnership with a wide range of industry, government, non-government and academic partners.

“Our Healthy Active by Design tool shows Australian planners ways to incorporate easily achieved elements that can have a significant, positive health and social impact,” Professor Shilton said.

Good design allows, for example:

  • families to picnic, play and exercise with their children in parks close to their home;
  • parents to feel comfortable letting their kids walk and cycle safely to school;
  • residents to stroll to the local shops to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables, have a meal or shop;
  • people to drop around to a friend’s place via quick and easy local public transport;
  • cycling or walking safely and conveniently to work, combining this with public transport.

“Communities that put Healthy Active by Design principles into practice are likely to be more physically active, socially connected, happier and healthier, and the economy and the environment are also winners,” Professor Shilton said.

Learn more at

Media contact:

Siobhan McMahon, Heart Foundation Physical Activity Media Manager

M: 0478 313 656 E:

Check out our Orange case study!