Thursday, March 21, 2013

City of Edmonton's PBB focus on walkability supported by newly published 10-year study

The City of Edmonton, who are actively implementing Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) by partnering with the Center for Priority Based Budgeting, has identified walkability as one of their community priorities. This community focus is directly supported by a recently published 10-year study by the University of Melbourne.

Lead researcher Professor Billie Giles-Corti, Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne, said "The study provided long-term evidence that residents' walking increased with greater availability and diversity of local transport and recreational destinations. The study demonstrates the potential of local infrastructure to support health-enhancing behaviours."

In our work in Priority Based Budgeting, we've seen this once before - in the City of Boulder, Colorado. What’s so unique is the explicit link between the City’s approach to budgeting, and their intended result of a healthier community.

“People here take health and fitness very seriously,” says Steve Mertz, Open Space and Mountain Parks Education and Outreach Coordinator with the City of Boulder. And so does City government.
Just as we’re seeing in Edmonton, the City of Boulder encourages a healthy lifestyle, including enhanced walkability throughout the City through its budgeting process, Priority Based Budgeting.  One of the results against which all 500-plus programs in the City are measured is “A Healthy City and Community.” In other words, the City makes a specific effort to lend support to programs that promote health and fitness within the community.

Congratulations, Edmonton, for your focus on creating a healthier city through improved walkability and urban design!

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