DHPE Partner the National Physical Activity Society Releases Walkable Communities Success Stories
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Walkable Communities: Eight U.S. Small Towns
The National Physical Activity Society has released the 2nd edition of Stories from Small Towns, which highlights eight U.S. towns that have made changes so people can walk and bike more freely. The stories demonstrate that structural changes to make walking easier can be carried out in America’s thousands of small towns and not just its big cities. The project aims to inspire town leaders across the country to see such infrastructure as possible and worthy.
“We want to demonstrate that walking and biking can be a priority in small towns, not just big cities,” said Pam Eidson, executive director of the Society. “These towns have put in sidewalks, trails, and town squares that attract people on foot or two wheels.”
Each one-page community description includes photos and advice to other small towns. Towns must have populations under 25,000 to be included. In this second edition, populations ranged from 1,500 to more than 15,000 people.
The U.S. Surgeon General recently issued a call to “make walking a national priority” and to “design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities.” The health recommendation is to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. While walking is the most common form of physical activity, health was not usually the primary motivator for these towns. Connecting people to local businesses, pride of place, safe ways to get to school, connection with nature, gathering spots, and even literacy featured in the reasons behind the towns’ efforts.
The National Physical Activity Society is a nonprofit organization supporting public health efforts to promote active communities. Members include state and local public health managers, nonprofits, academics, active transportation designers, and fitness professionals who want to have a broader impact, among others.
Towns featured in the second edition are Eufaula, Alabama; Canton, Connecticut; Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; Hebron, Nebraska; Davidson, North Carolina; Molalla, Oregon; Sulphur Springs, Texas; and Soap Lake, Washington. The first edition was released in 2015.
Entire 2nd edition set and individual community stories available at the NPAS web site: