Active Living

Active living is about integrating health with land use and transportation decision-making because health begins in the places where we live, learn, work, and play. We want to make the active choice — walking, biking, and taking public transit — the easy choice.

Why active living is important

  • Improves physical and mental health
  • Decreases risk of chronic disease and associated medical costs
  • Reduces transportation costs
  • Improves air quality
  • Builds safer, stronger communities
  • Improves quality of life

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About our work


Active Living Hennepin County is supported by a partnership of cities, businesses and nonprofits working together to increase opportunities for daily physical activity. We consider policies and practices that create opportunities to be more active on a daily basis, including walking and bicycling.

History and funding

The program was launched in 2006. It received grant funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota from 2006 through 2012, and has also been funded through the Minnesota Department of Health's Statewide Health Improvement Program since 2009. It also receives support from Hennepin County.

During 2006 and 2007, we conducted an assessment (PDF) of the opportunities and barriers to active living, which led to the development of our initial vision, mission and guiding principles.

In October 2007, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an Active Living resolution. This laid the foundation for the development and implementation of our ongoing Active Living policies (PDF), as well as for our work on Complete Streets.

Subcommittees were created in 2008 to plan events, develop technical resources, host workshops, and revise the vision, mission and guiding principles (PDF).

Cross cultural competency

A multicultural outreach subcommittee began working in 2008 to develop an action plan for effective community engagement with diverse populations in Hennepin County. The subcommittee determined that developing capacity within individual organizations, including support from leadership, was the best long-term approach. A two-day workshop was developed and held, and a final committee report including findings and recommendations from the committee's work.

References and Reports

These resources are designed to support Active Living programs and policy development.

Targeted workshops

Active Living hosts diverse panels and workshops for our partners and other organizations on relevant topics and current needs. Recent workshop topics include:

  • Biking, walking and winter walking
  • Complete Streets
  • Placemaking
  • Strategic and secure bicycle parking
  • Wayfinding
  • Working with developers to create active communities
  • Health equity in healthy community planning


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