Heart Foundation creates healthy communities

The National Heart Foundation of Australia’s work in helping to make Australians healthier, through influencing good planning, design and building has been recognised through a national award.

The Heart Foundation was announced as the winner of the Cycling Promotion Fund’s 2014 Cycling Luminaries Award ‘Built Environment and Urban Design’ category for its Healthy Places and Spaces tool.

Heart Foundation’s National CEO, Mary Barry received the award at a ceremony which was held in conjunction with an international cycling conference ‘Velo-City Global 2014’.

Healthy Places and Spaces was created in partnership with the Planning Institute of Australia and the Australian Local Government Association, and has become the national guide for planning, designing and creating healthy, sustainable, people friendly places. 

It provides the tools and capacity to Australian planners and engineers to develop healthy communities that encourage walking and cycling.

 Ms Barry said we know that not being active is a major risk factor for heart disease and that by creating healthy towns and cities where being active is made easy consequently improves people’s heart health.

 “The design and construction of communities has significant impact on people’s health and wellbeing, particularly in the way they travel, connect and interact.

 “For more than a decade, we have been a leader in promoting active healthy and connected communities through good planning and community infrastructure design and are proud to be recognised for this.

 “We know that people walk more if they perceive streets are safe and aesthetically pleasing.

“Simple things like paths, street lights and trees can make a world of difference for increasing active transport and recreational cycling and walking.

“These are not difficult things to ensure if proper planning and resourcing is provided.

“If towns, suburbs, cities, public spaces and shopping areas were all designed with health in mind, we would see more physical activity and healthier people.”