Models for Change: Lessons for Creating Active Living Communities

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation



Case Study Sector

The Active Living Research (ALR) program was established by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to stimulate and support research that identifies factors and policies that influence physical activity. The program focuses on the effects of natural and built environments as well as public policies on active living.
In late 2004, ALR invited researchers to carry out case studies on active living policies. Case studies are useful for communicating information on “how” and “why” policy changes occur. They shed light on the “process” of policy change, something rarely revealed in regression model outputs. Good, compelling stories of newly emerging fields, like active living, can help communicate key lessons to decision-makers, as well as generate new research questions.
The 11 mini case studies were prepared under the ALR program. Some examine the policy-change process, such as how to go about building a united front in developing a countywide network of bikeways or multi-use trails. Others focus on policy innovations, like agreements between municipalities and school boards in the planning and siting of school facilities and initiatives to transform greenfields into active-living new towns. The case studies focus on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the state of Wisconsin; Greendale, Wisconsin; Damascus, Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; traffic calming inititiatives; New York, New York; Lee County, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; Arlington County, Virginia; and the development of community trails.



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