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Creating built environments to foster healthy living

Provide Input to Indy Connect

March 14th, 2010

As you’ve likely heard, Indy Connect, Central Indiana’s Transportation Initiative, recently launched.  Because this process will shape the planning and implementation of our formal long range plan, it is critical that the voices of all citizens are heard!  Our input is vital to ensure that this continued investment in our transportation network includes legitimate options for all users - pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation users, as well as motorists - regardless of age or ability.  Having comprehensive transportation options in our communities provides citizens the opportunity to walk, bike, and/or use transit for getting around, thus increasing physical activity, reducing pollutants, improving access to services, and enhancing a sense of community among neighbors. 

The Health by Design coalition wants to ensure that all Central Indiana citizens know about this public input process and that everyone who wants to participate is able to do so!  There are several ways that people can provide feedback, based on what works best for them:

  • Visit Indy Connect online ( to submit comments
  • Use the bilingual phone line (317-327-8601)
  • Attend one of the remaining public meetings (
  • Submit hand-written comments (address available online)
  • Contact Indy Connect to request a presentation/meeting with a group

We have developed talking points for your use, if helpful, and there are additional materials on the Projects page.  Thanks for getting engaged and spreading the word!

Complete Streets for the Crossroads of America

February 14th, 2010

The Indiana Complete Streets Campaign launched successfully last month, and statewide legislation (HB 1182) was introduced in the General Assembly.  The original language has been amended significantly, but there is still much to be gained by passing this bill!  We’re now awaiting a Senate hearing, and need your support to keep things moving forward.  Visit the Campaign website to learn more, join the campaign, and to take advocacy actions.  Together we will ensure that Indiana’s transportation network is designed and operated to enable safe access for all users - pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users of all ages and abilities – in moving along and across roadways.

  bus-and-biker   A Complete Street in Bloomington, IN

Complete Streets in Bloomington, IN

Opportunities for Input and Upcoming Events

January 8th, 2010

Happy New Year!  Hopefully 2010 is off to a great start for you!


The deadline for submitting comments to the Indianapolis MPO on its Public Participation Plan has been extended to Friday, January 15th.  The Public Participation Plan is the document which provides the public participation requirements for the transportation planning process within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Area.  Public comments should be directed to Anna M. Tyszkiewicz (317.327.5487,  We anticipate many MPO activities related to transit in 2010, so this is a good way to offer your first bit of input!


The 2010 HbD calendar is already loaded with several great events and conferences.  Be sure to keep an eye on it regularly for the latest updates and additions, and be sure to let me know of things you’d like included. 

  • Mark your calendars for Communities at the Crossroads XII, Doing More with Less: Investing in Quality of Life in Challenging Fiscal Times to be held February 19th.  This year, there is also a call for posters for this event!  
  • Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and members of his staff and city departments will hold a Mayor’s Night Out Question and Answer Forum on the Near Eastside next Monday, January 11th, from 6-7 PM, at Emerson Avenue Baptist Church (308 N Emerson Ave.). 
  • The Indiana High Speed Rail Association is hosting a luncheon on Friday, January 29th at 11:30 AM, at the Gary/Chicago International Airport.  Business and government leaders are invited to hear from Joseph A. Szabo, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, about the high-speed rail system proposed for the Midwestern United States and the economic benefits of the system.
  • Applications are being accepted through January 20th for the Built Environment Assessment Training (BEAT) Institute, to be held June 13-18 in Philadelphia, PA. The goals of the BEAT Institute are: 1) to prepare investigators and practitioners to use both observational and self-report measures of nutrition and activity environments and related behavioral assessments through lectures, fieldwork, hands-on skills, group work and individual consultation with BEAT faculty, and 2) to increase the number of professionals qualified to conduct built environment assessments for nutrition and physical activity. 


November 19th, 2009

s23507779_31070640_67391Hello.  My name is Jamison Hutchins, and I am going to be working with Health by Design through next July.  I have been matched with HbD through an exciting Americorps program called Public Allies, which is focused on building leaderships skills via community engagement and experience in the non-profit sector.  I grew up in the Indianapolis area until about 5 years ago when I ventured out to Montana to attend school…and enjoy the Rocky Mountains.  It was in Missoula that I was awakened to the benefits of a community focused on making sure that bikers and pedestrians shared the same benefits and safeties as car dwellers.  These next ten months are going to be a great opportunity to work towards creating a healthier and less car-dependent environment here in central Indiana.  Please feel free to contact me if there is anything I can do to help, or you just want to talk over a cup of coffee.

Enjoy Spirit and Place with us!

November 11th, 2009

website clip layoutsHealth by Design is thrilled to be participating in the 2009 Spirit and Place Festival  Please join us on Thursday, November 12 for Neighborhoods: Inspiring Place, Improving Health.  This 2009 Spirit & Place Festival event will explore how to create communities that sustain health, inspire happiness, build social capital, and support economic development.  An exhibit of resident-created photos and maps from Clermont, Community Heights, and Indianapolis’ Far Eastside will be on display.  The event will be held at the Indiana State Museum, beginning with a 6:30 PM reception.  A presentation will begin at 7 PM, featuring Ethan Kent, of Project for Public Spaces.  Visit the HbD Urban Planning Scholar Series page to learn more.  We hope to see you there!

Plan now for Walk to School Day, Oct. 7

August 9th, 2009 Jones Jones

It’s not too early to begin planning how your school & community will celebrate Walk to School Day on October 7, 2009!  The Health by Design Walk & Bike to School Workgroup has prepared a letter and information sheet to help you spread the word, organize an event, and to work toward making every day good for walking and biking to school!  We hope you will join in the fun and share your event pictures and stories with us.  Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can assist with resources and support for your effort. 

Looking for something to do?

July 29th, 2009

An exhibit, featuring the work of Ball State students, faculty, and alumni from the College of Architecture and Planning is on display through mid-August at the at the Ball State Indianapolis Center (50 S. Meridian St.).  The works highlights the economic development potential of proposed station areas along the planned light rail on the Nickel Plate Rail Line owned by the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, from Noblesville to Union Station in downtown Indianapolis.  Exhibit hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm.

On Friday, August 7th from 7 - 11 PM, Indy Cog, People for Urban Progress, Harnish Design, and Cardinal Cycles will be hosting an event at the Murphy Arts Building in Fountain Square to promote a bike messenger bag that is made from re-purposed material from the roof of the RCA/Hoosier Dome.  There will be food, music, and entertainment; and it will be a great chance to connect with cyclists and the citizens of Indianapolis.

How Walkable is your Neighborhood?

July 17th, 2009

In the Spring of 2008, a class of IUPUI SPEA Capstone students developed a toolkit for assessing neighborhood walkability.  The project underwent review and some revision in the Health by Design Evaluation Committee and was piloted among coalition members in the Spring of 2009.  We invite you to use this tool to evaluate your own neighborhood and to help promote walkability!  Don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions or for more information.

Complete Streets Workshop

July 14th, 2009

The recently held Complete Streets lecture and workshop were a huge success.  More than 150 Hoosiers from around the state participated.  Stay tuned for more details about how you can get involved and join in working towards policy development at the state and local level.  Check out the summary of our event on the National Complete Streets Coalition blog and some input and analysis from Graeme, an attendee.  Thanks again to AARP of Indiana, our event sponsor!

Update - Streetsblog included coverage of Indiana’s Complete Streets workshop as a network ’top pick’ on Wednesday!  Awesome - thanks!

AAP Policy Statement on the Built Environment

June 23rd, 2009

In case you didn’t see it earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health released a policy statement: The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children.  The article, published in the June issue of Pediatrics,  includes recommendations for pediatricians and government. 

Abstract: An estimated 32% of American children are overweight, and physical inactivity contributes to this high prevalence of overweight. This policy statement highlights how the built environment of a community affects children’s opportunities for physical activity. Neighborhoods and communities can provide opportunities for recreational physical activity with parks and open spaces, and policies must support this capacity. Children can engage in physical activity as a part of their daily lives, such as on their travel to school. Factors such as school location have played a significant role in the decreased rates of walking to school, and changes in policy may help to increase the number of children who are able to walk to school. Environment modification that addresses risks associated with automobile traffic is likely to be conducive to more walking and biking among children. Actions that reduce parental perception and fear of crime may promote outdoor physical activity. Policies that promote more active lifestyles among children and adolescents will enable them to achieve the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. By working with community partners, pediatricians can participate in establishing communities designed for activity and health.