The Active Living by Design National Program

Community Initiatives and Lessons Learned

The Active Living by Design (ALbD) national program has created active living communities across the country. ALbD Community Partnerships have paved the way for a more physically active national culture.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the ALbD national program in 2001. In 2002, the ALbD national program initiated a national call for grant proposals. After reviewing over 900 proposals, the ALbD National Program Office and RWJF selected 25 communities to receive grants.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine has published a supplement devoted to the ALbD national program. The supplement presents stories of community change, highlighting ALbD communities that have embraced daily physical activity. This introductory article describes how 10 ALbD Partnerships illustrate each strategy in the ALbD community action model. The strategies of the ALbD community action model are the 5Ps: preparation, promotions, policy, programs and physical projects. ALbD partnerships employ an ecologic approach to public health interventions. Action taken to address one of the 5Ps reinforces a complementary strategy.

Key Findings:

  • Winnebago is a rural tribal village in eastern Nebraska. An ALbD Partnership, Waksik Wago (active people), in Winnebago, created The Big Voice, an online newsletter written for and by the youth of Winnebago.
  • The South Bronx Greenway Master Plan exemplified a successful physical project. An ALbD Partnership with Sustainable South Bronx (SSB) helped create two high-quality waterfront parks.

Active living incorporates physical activity into the routines of daily life. The starting point for active living is the RWJF’s ALbD grant. The goal of every ALbD Partnership is to create the environmental conditions that individuals require to make active living choices.