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PLACE Program
Policies for Livable, Active Communities and Environments


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Contact Information
PLACE Program
695 S. Vermont Avenue, South Tower, 14th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 351-1910
Built Environment Resources
Built Environment Resources

The built environment is made up of all the places we live, work, and play. It includes our streets, parks, schools, workplaces, homes, and public space. From temporary, short-term, active events like CicLAvia to long-range policies that ensure that all residents can safely and comfortably use public streets, there are a wide range of possibilities for changing how people interact with and are affected by the built environment. Here you’ll find links to the innovative work that organizations in California and around the country have done to improve health through changes to the built environment.

Health Language in Transportation Policies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published “Recommendations for Improving Health Through Transportation Policy” in recognition of the impact that transportation systems have on health and quality of life. This document outlines innovative policies and programs that protect and promote health while accomplishing transportation objectives. The recommendations include policies that improve air quality, reduce injuries, and/or promote physical activity through transportation.

Several California cities have chosen to support health through their General Plans – or the document that describes a city’s overall land use policies. The Changelab Solutions report, “Healthy Planning Policies - A Compendium from California General Plans,” offers insight into some of the strategies that cities have employed to do this. For example, some have chosen to build health into traditional elements of their plans by considering walking and bicycling to be essential forms of transportation. Others have created health-specific sections or included relatively novel topics, such as equitable access to healthy food. “How to Create and Implement Healthy General Plans: A Toolkit for Building Healthy, Vibrant Communities” describes the possibilities available for improving health through the general plan process. It includes model language and standards for creating and implementing plans like those in the Compendium above.

Active Living by Design offers a variety of resources, including webinars and case studies of promising practices in healthy planning. Its “Transportation Essentials” page is particularly useful for highlighting resources available to advocates of active living from across the web, including toolkits and fact sheets.

Health Language in Transportation Policies

Safe Routes to School Resources

Walking School Bus Training Manual and Flier.
The PLACE program developed Let’s Walk to School Together! A Walking School Bus Training Manual as a resource for adult volunteers interested in starting a Walking School Bus program at their school. A Walking School Bus is an adult-supervised group walk to and/or from school. The goal of the program is to encourage students to walk to school, and is one of many possible safe routes to school programs. The Training Manual outlines key phases of a Walking School Bus program’s development and provides customizable templates that can help kick-start the program. In addition, a flyer (English/Spanish) is available to help recruit volunteers for the program.

Model Design Manual for Living Streets

The Model Design Manual for Living Streets is now available to download.
This manual focuses on all users and all modes, seeking to achieve balanced street design that accommodates cars while ensuring that pedestrians, cyclists and transit users can travel safely and comfortably. This manual also incorporates features to make streets lively, beautiful, economically vibrant as well as environmentally sustainable.

Cities may use this manual in any way that helps them update their current practices, including adopting the entire manual, adopting certain chapters in full or part, modifying or customizing chapters to suit each city’s needs.

Download PDF version Model Design Manual for Living Streets  or editable MS Word version from the dedicated page for this manual here.

Additional Resources

Organizations and Websites to Know
Here you’ll find links to outstanding organizations that have experience promoting, implementing, and evaluating policies that support healthier built environments in Los Angeles County and California. This link also includes websites that offer insight into the news and opinion of the urban planning and public health communities.

Articles and Reports
This page contains links to articles and reports about exciting research at the intersection of health and the built environment. Recent reports about active transportation demonstrate the value of changing the built environment to improve health. Case studies showcase the progress that local governments have made in this area.

Data Sources
These links include official reports and data sets that offer insight into health outcomes and transportation patterns in Los Angeles County, the state of California, and the nation.

Funding Opportunities
Several organizations and governmental departments at the state and national levels offer funding for the development and/or implementation of active living policies and plans.

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