Housing Developers Commit to Active Design

First Lady Michelle Obama, honorary chair of the Partnership for a Healthier
America (PHA), recognized at the Building a Healthier Future Summit,
commitments from three housing developers to aid in the fight against childhood
obesity. Blue Sea Development Company, Urban Ventures, LLC, and Vitus Group each made a commitment to PHA to incorporate Active Design strategies in at least 80 percent of their affordable housing development projects over the next three years. As part of this innovative initiative, the Center for Active Design will provide technical assistance to these developers on using Active Design strategies and will work with PHA to verify that all commitments are met.

“PHA was honored to announce our first housing developer commitments from Blue Sea Development, Urban Ventures, LLC and Vitus Group. Collectively, over the next three years these commitments will impact an estimated 4,250 units of affordable housing across the United States. We look forward to engaging more housing developers in the coming year to help further our goal of making healthier choices easier for children and families across the country,” said Lisa Creighton, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Partnership for a Healthier America.

Over the past year, the Center for Active Design worked with PHA and other leading experts in the field to develop the design strategies, which the committed developers will integrate into new housing projects. Samples of the strategies include well-designed stairs that encourage everyday use, infrastructure to support walking and biking, and inclusion of facilities for physical activity within the project boundary. Speaking to the initiative and the design strategies that will be implemented, Urban Ventures Project Manager, Cassie Wright, said that, “We are honored and excited to join such a wide array of organizations to fight obesity in this nation. We hope that our commitment to building healthy places will positively influence the residents of the neighborhoods we build and will encourage them to make healthier choices."

“We are delighted to be a part of the solution in fighting childhood obesity across the U.S.,” said Joanna Frank, Executive Director at the Center for Active Design. “This initiative allows us to further expand our reach and focus on the health impacts of housing on children.” We are excited to see innovative design solutions from this first cohort of developers making the PHA commitment. As Active Design becomes a part of the standard design process, projects that are a part of this initiative will serve as models to which other developers can aspire.

For more information on this initiative, click here.

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