Community Design

Design neighborhoods so that walking and biking to work, schools, retail, recreation, public transit, and other destinations is easy and appealing.

Learn about the co-benefits of Community Design below.


Creative Placemaking

Create accessible, engaging public spaces that foster community and improve health and wellbeing.

Comprehensive Planning

Adopt a local comprehensive plan that is coordinated with other land use and infrastructure plans and supports an active, healthy, and resilient community.

Mixed-use Development

Update zoning codes and subdivision regulations to encourage mixed-use neighborhoods with higher density, pedestrian-friendly development, and common open space.

Public Infrastructure Planning

Plan public infrastructure, such as transportation systems, schools, and parks and open spaces, so that physical activity and convenient access to community resources and nature are priorities.


Community Design co-benefits include:

Economics: Community design strategies provide accessible and efficient connections between residences, schools, parks, public transportation, offices, and retail destinations. This can contribute to economic growth, revitalization, and stability.

Sprawl Reduction: Community design strategies promote efficient use of land and infrastructure. In addition, they can protect outlying rural areas and environmentally sensitive resources.

Safety: Smart infrastructure planning can reduce traffic injuries and fatalities through less or slower vehicle traffic.

Reduced Traffic Congestion: Streets that provide active travel choices give people the option to avoid car travel and decrease pressure on transportation networks.

Safe Routes for Children: Smart school siting increases the connectivity of neighborhoods to schools. This provides for safer transportation options for children traveling to school.

Environment and Climate Change Mitigation: Parks and open spaces with trees can filter pollutants and dust from the air, provide shade and lower temperatures in urban areas. They also reduce soil erosion and combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

Wellbeing: Having access to the outdoors has been shown to positively impact mental wellbeing, restore attention, and reduce depressive symptoms.

Noise Reduction: Noise causes stress, loss of sleep, and health problems. It also reduces social interaction in public spaces. More efficient transportation networks can reduce the amount of road noise in communities.

Community Vitality: Community Design strategies can lead to an enhanced sense of community by improving and preserving village-style town centers and a mix of housing, retail, and work.

Health Benefits: In addition to reducing obesity, an increase in physical activity associated with walking and biking can reduce the risks of the following health-related problems:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Colon cancer