Active Living Rochester: Rochester, Minn.
Photo Credit: DMJ Photography
The City of Rochester, Minn. is committed to combating preventable public health issues. In 2007, the city created Active Living Rochester to encourage physical activity and well-being. The program promotes active transportation and seeks to integrate physical activity into daily routines. Strategies, such as integrated design of public spaces and the creation of an active transportation safety campaign, are priorities of this initiative. Today, the program includes an interdisciplinary partnership between various city departments, health care professionals and other community organizations. It aims to coordinate a variety of initiatives and programs in the city that influence the design, building, and maintenance of the built environment to facilitate active living. Rochester’s Active Living vision is to become “a community that promotes a culture of active living in holistic, diverse and comprehensive ways; where walking, biking and transit are the safe preferred options for residents.” The city and its partners have recognized that community initiatives focused on preventative health measures, such as programs and policies that promote biking and walking, can save residents, employers and the city money in the long run through reduced health care costs.
- Active living programs or initiatives are significantly more effective if the physical infrastructure (sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.) for various modes of transportation (walking, biking, transit, etc.) is coordinated.
- Creating an ad campaign, specifically highlighting and utilizing long-term champions from within the community, can be an effective method of educating residents about a new program or policy.
- Interdisciplinary partnerships between public and non-profit agencies, city and county departments and community organizations are critically important in ensuring that the necessary combination of content experts are able to provide feedback on decisions that affect the long-term trajectory of a city. Partnerships also provide additional capacity, opportunities to pool resources and opportunities to recognize how seemingly unrelated programs or departments can work together to more effectively and efficiently create change.
- Working with a variety of partners allows the same issue to be framed and explored in many different ways, making a program or initiative appealing to a greater number of constituents.
- Utilizing visually engaging presentations during outreach activities helps residents understand that active living is an important community issue.
For More Information:
Mitzi A. Baker, AICP
Senior Planner/ Coordinator, Active Living Rochester
Rochester-Olmstead Planning Department, City of Rochester