Our Approach

Our approach to Active Design transforms the built environment through the following four key concepts:

Active Transportation

Does the project support a safe and vibrant environment for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders? Sample design considerations might include:

  • Wide sidewalks and safe crosswalks
  • Traffic calming elements that slow driving speeds

Active Buildings

Does the project encourage greater physical movement of users and visitors within the building site? Sample design considerations might include:

  • Stairs that are accessible, visible, attractive, and well-lit
  • On-site gardening opportunities

Active Recreation

Does the project provide access to recreation and play spaces that accommodate different ages, interests, and abilities? Sample design considerations might include:

  • Parks, plazas, and playgrounds that are easily accessed by pedestrians and cyclists
  • Spaces and activities that respond to unique local and cultural preferences


Does the project offer opportunities for growing or purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables? Does it provide ready access to tap water? Sample design considerations might include:

  • Space for a full-service grocery store
  • Rooftop gardens and greenhouses

Communities around the world are finding new and creative ways to tailor the concepts of Active Design to their own project needs. To learn more, visit the Case Studies section of this site and download the Active Design Guidelines.

  • User Side Images Image 156
    Ground markings in children's play spaces can incite creative movement and play. Photo Credit: NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • User Side Images Image 129
    Interesting circulation spaces and open stairs within a building can promote regular walking. Image Credit: Perkins & Will.