Building Healthy Homes Through Active Design Verified

Homeowner’s Rehab, Inc. (HRI), which provides affordable housing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has joined Active Design Verified to build healthier homes for families. Over the next five years, HRI will implement active design strategies across its affordable housing portfolio, providing increased opportunities for residents to be healthier. Collectively, previous real estate development partners of the Active Design Verified initiative is projected to impact an estimated 4,250 units of affordable housing nationally.

Active Design Verified (ADV) is a joint initiative led by the Center for Active Design and the Partnership for a Healthier America that inspires the design of affordable housing, which promotes resident health and wellbeing. As part of the ADV initiative, developers commit to including active design strategies within a percentage of their affordable housing portfolios over a defined number of years. In 2015, Blue Sea Development Company, Urban Ventures LLC, and Vitus Group committed to incorporating active design in at least 80 percent of their new and renovation housing developments. Sample active design features included within developments are well-designed stairs that encourage everyday use, infrastructure that supports walking and biking, and free or low-cost programming to support resident health.

HRI, a nonprofit that develops mixed income housing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will include active design strategies in its new construction and rehabilitation housing projects. CfAD will provide technical assistance to HRI at various points in the development process, offering research and plan reviews for using active design in a low-cost and effective manner. Sample projects in the pipeline for HRI include a new construction project and the substantial rehabilitation of a 19-story, 300-unit project in the Cambrideport neighborhood near Central Square. The new construction project will be at least LEED-Silver certifiable.

Childhood obesity and related chronic diseases are at their highest rates in years, especially among Black and Latino children and children living in low-income communities. As low-income communities continue to face disproportionately higher burdens of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and asthma, it is critical that developers make a concerted effort to build homes and neighborhoods that support healthy lifestyles. We are excited that HRI is joining the cohort of housing developers that are leading the market in developing housing that supports resident health.

Read Case Study: Aria Apartments for more on Active Design Verified’s pioneer project.

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    Community gardening can help to facilitate inter-generational interaction and increase fruit and vegetable intake.
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    Accessibility to fitness facilities can positively impact physical activity of residents.