Building the Base

An Active Living by Design (ALbD) partnership reclaimed more than 100 acres of green space to promote active living in Hawaii’s Kalihi Valley. A complementary urban initiative provided nearly 2,000 refurbished bikes to community members.

The Kalihi Valley in Honolulu, Hawaii is a first home for many Asian and Pacific Island immigrants. Kalihi is one of the state’s most densely populated communities and has the highest percentage of public housing residents. In 2003, Kalihi Valley’s population was outstripping the capacity of its physical infrastructure, (i.e., streets, sidewalks, schools and parks).

Kokua Kalihi Valley (KKV) is a community health center that became the lead agency in an ALbD national program partnership. KKV has provided primary medical and dental services since 1972. KKV used its ALbD grant to engage its community partners through collective action. Two initiatives emerged that served the ALbD community action model, the 5Ps: Ho’oulu ‘Aina (The Kalihi Valley Nature Park) and the Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange Program (K-VIBE).

Key Findings:

  • To address active living policies, KKV made and distributed banners and made phone calls to other health centers urging support for an active living amendment to the city charter.
  • K-Vibe developed its own physical project in the form of the K-Vibe bike shop in a corner of the health center’s warehouse.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the ALbD national grant program in 2001. After a review of more than 900 hundred proposals, ALbD formed partnerships with 25 community organizations. Each ALbD partnership received five years of funding.