Active Living

Walkable and bikeable communities have healthier residents. They have better and more equitable access to healthy food, housing, transportation, jobs and physical activity.

To make the county more walkable and bikeable, Active Living promotes policy, systems, and environmental change.

Active Living initiates this change through:

  • Complete streets policies
  • Active Living resolutions
  • Design of roads, trails, sidewalks and transit
  • Community gardens
  • Funding and technical support for local initiatives

Help your community improve residents' health. Partner with Active Living Hennepin County to make your city a healthy place to live, learn, work, and play.

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Get involved

Benefits of partnership

Technical assistance from Active Living staff

Networking

Eligibility for funding

Events and opportunities

Participation in quarterly panel discussions. Recent panels include:

If your city, agency, or organization is interested in joining the partnership, contact Laura Fredrick Wang at laura.fredrick.wang@hennepin.us

Making the healthy choice the easy choice

How partners improve health in their community

Active living resolutions

Partners adopt an active living resolution to establish their vision of an active, healthy community. 

View a model resolution (PDF)

View the Active Living partner map (PDF)

Complete streets and living streets policies

These policies promote a change in thinking about transportation planning and design. Communities that adopt these policies create physical spaces that promote walking, biking, and transit, creating spaces that invite people to use physically active ways of getting around their community. Active Living provides partners with template policies they can adapt for their unique local needs. 

Read more about complete streets at www.hennepin.us/completestreets.

Land use policies and placemaking

Appealing environments encourage people to walk and bike. Communities can create walkable and bikeable environments through healthy community planning and design. Active Living partners adopt land use policies that encourage mixed-use development and create places that promote health. 

Healthy food access

Healthy community planning increases access to healthy and affordable food. Transportation and land use planning along with local ordinances directly affect access to grocery stores, farmers markets and community gardens. They also affect opportunities for urban agriculture.

Find fresh food at farmers’ markets near you with the new 2016 Farmer’s Markets web mapping application. Access from a web browser, smart phone, or tablet. See the help page for more information on how to use the application. 

Funding and technical support for local initiatives

Active Living supports local communities in their efforts to create healthy and active places. County support includes competitive grants, in-kind contributions and staff assistance. 

Recently funded projects

Hennepin County has funded bicycle and pedestrian plans in:

Current projects

Along with the Active Living partnership, the county is concentrating efforts in a few communities at a time. The program collaborates with those communities on a comprehensive approach to active living. 

In addition, Active Living works with communities throughout the county on smaller projects such as funding bike racks, wayfinding, community gardens and policy development. 

Active Living "deep dive" project

Active Living has worked with Hopkins and Brooklyn Center to develop a multi-faceted program. 

Deep dive activities have included: 

  • Earn-a-bike classes with Cycles for Change, which teach adults and teens basic bike maintenance by by building a bike to keep.
  • Creating partnerships with law enforcement to promote walking and biking and increase education, awareness, and compliance with laws related to walking and biking. 
  • Demonstration projects to show how small changes to a street can make big improvements for walking and biking. 
  • Writing and adopting policies and/or plans to increase opportunities for walking, biking, and vibrant public spaces. 

A project steering committee in each city provides direction and guidance for all activities and creates opportunities for residents to get involved throughout the process.

Involvement from diverse communities helps to ensure that the work improves access to physical activity for all residents, especially in communities that experience high levels of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type II diabetes.  

Transit and health equity

Bottineau light rail transit

Active Living staff is working to incorporate health and health equity into planning the Bottineau light rail transitway. Staff first conducted the Bottineau Transitway Health Impact Assessment to identify ways to improve community health with the new light rail line. The assessment revealed other opportunities to incorporate health into light rail planning.

The Bottineau light rail transit bike study is scheduled for completion in early 2016. The study will provide recommendations on:

  • Bike routes within a 10-minute bike ride of each Bottineau LRT station
  • Bike facilities within 100ft of the station
  • Possible corridor long bike routes

For more information, contact Joan Vanhala at joan.vanhala@hennepin.us.

Planning for health in station areas (PDF)

Bottineau Transitway Health Impact Assessment

Metro Healthy Comprehensive Plans Workgroup

The physical, mental and emotional health of individuals is strongly influenced by the environments in which they live, work and play. Many problems and solutions to improving our health are affected by how we shape the built environment. Since the practice of community planning plays a significant role in shaping the built environment, local planning can have real and significant impacts on community health. Local community planning is increasingly recognized as tool to strategically increase health and promote equal opportunity to health. Planning and designing communities with health in mind can lead to improved community health, wellness, and quality of life.  

Workgroup description and purpose:

This workgroup will serve as a resource for city and county planners and health staff who are working on their jurisdiction’s comprehensive plan and, working from the broadest possible definition of health, will focus on how to include health and equity considerations in these plans. 

Meeting materials

Resources and links

 

Resources

About the program

History and funding

The county launched the Active Living program in 2006 in response to the nationwide obesity epidemic. The county recognized that community design affects people's ability to make physical activity a part of their daily routine. 

The county 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. 

Outcomes and highlights (PDF - coming soon)

Our approach

Some populations don't have equal access to healthy food and physical activity. As a result, they are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. 

The program focuses its effort in communities with more vulnerable populations such as low-income households, communities of color, people with disabilities, seniors and youth.

Maps

Low income seniors (PDF)

Income and race (PDF)

People with disabilities (PDF)

Life expectancy along the Bottineau transitway (PDF)

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