Active Living by Design: Sustainability Strategies

A 3-year qualitative evaluation was conducted of the 25 Active Living by Design (ALbD) communities to analyze their efforts on sustainability and securing ongoing active living initiatives.

The evaluation began toward the end of the third year of funding for the ALbD grantees (November 2006). The 25 communities utilized a variety of strategies to promote community health and well-being. The strategies fell under five categories: partnership expansion, sustainable funding, permanent advisory committees, policy change, and institution and organization changes. Data was analyzed from interviews, focus groups, and the Progress Reporting System.

This study offers a descriptive view of the challenges faced by communities in promoting and instigating changes to make their communities more physically active. Communities approached these challenges in different ways. Portland, OR for example, plans to maintain an Active Living Director’s position beyond that of the initial ALbD location. Four of the ALbD communities plan to staff a dedicated person responsible for overseeing components of active living.

In November 2003, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded 25 communities throughout the U.S. with grants for the national program known as Active Living by Design. The program was designed to establish healthy, active lifestyles in the community by changing the built environment and public policies to make physical activity part of everyday life.