Laura Jackson of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield on creating healthier communities

Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently spoke with Laura Jackson, an Executive Vice President of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, to get her perspective on why smart growth strategies should be a priority for the health care industry and how the way we build communities can help abate rising health care costs and improve public health.

“Smart growth practices are a way to help people understand that there are certain things you can do, either low cost or no cost in many cases in communities, to live a longer healthier life,” says Jackson.

Local Leaders Council

Breathe a little easier: American Lung Association study backs smart growth

Walkable Neighborhood, originally uploaded by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Like many Americans, I grew up knowing only one type of community design — drivable suburbia. In my community, exercise wasn’t something that happened naturally over the course of the day. It required carving out designated time slots from a crowded schedule. Frankly, that didn’t happen as … Continued

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Doctors prescribe smarter growth

Pediatricians should help work against conventional suburban development (top) and for traditional neighborhoods (lower). Why? For starters, so kids can walk to school again. AAP’s Policy Statement includes this drawing by Duany, Plater-Zyberk. A version of the drawing is available at http://www.dpz.com/research.aspx, Diagram #25. Yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics adopted a ground-breaking policy statement … Continued

Complete Streets

Poor sidewalks, bikeways and transit service a barrier for older Americans seeking relief from high gas prices

Guest post by Barbara McCann, coordinator of the National Complete Streets Coalition A new poll out from AARP documents how incomplete streets are making it tough for older Americans to avoid paying the high price of gasoline.  Almost 40 percent of those polled say they don’t have adequate sidewalks in their neighborhood, 55 percent say … Continued

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Planning for an aging America: New report shows how to allow older citizens to "age in place"

Much has been made over the last few months about America reaching the 300 mark in population, heading towards 400 million in another 40 years or so. What’s often lost between the lines is how much older that population will be. By only 2030, nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be over age 65. As the Aging in Place Initiative tells us, the largest majority of seniors are not retiring to the beach or moving into a nursing home – they choose to remain where they are and “age in place”. But as many seniors choose to stay where they are, they are realizing that many of our communities aren’t made for such a lifestyle, and find their options to be extremely limited….

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