Active Design Verified

Active Design Verified buildings use architecture and urban planning to create appealing indoor and outdoor recreation spaces and greater access to healthy food, transportation and healthcare services.

Our bodies are designed to move. But too often, our homes and our communities provide little opportunity or encouragement for us to do so safely. They should. Studies show people who live in communities designed with health in mind are, in fact, healthier.

Recognizing this, PHA teamed up with the Center for Active Design to create Active Design Verified (ADV), a program that identifies leaders in affordable housing who make health a priority in how they build communities. ADV pioneers use architecture and urban planning to create indoor and outdoor spaces that encourage people to move. They also make it easier for residents to grow or buy healthy food within the community and provide easy access to public transportation and healthcare services.

ADV participants agree to incorporate a set of low-cost design elements in a specific percentage of their affordable housing properties over a set period of time. These include appealing, well-lit stairwells, infrastructure that supports walking and biking, gardens to work in and spaces for kids to play.

Already, there’s evidence such features work. A study by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the South Bronx found that, on average, 58 percent of residents in buildings designed with similar ADV strategies reported an increase in the number of flights of stairs they climbed each week, compared to just 20 percent of residents who lived in non-ADV buildings.

Launched in 2015, ADV represents a milestone in the movement to create healthier, more active communities for American families and a model for others to follow.

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