Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to the page's main content

Community design

Benefits of Good Community Design Healthy community design means planning and designing communities to make it easier for people to live healthy lives.
The design and layout of Utah's cities and neighborhoods influence the health of people who live in them. For example, it is difficult to be physically active if sidewalks and parks are not available and accessible. Eating a healthy diet is hard if healthy food choices are not available in your community. Urban sprawl, inadequate public transportation, and energy inefficient buildings not only affect human health but also have a distinct impact on climate change through the generation of greenhouse gas emissions. Healthy community design:
  • Encourages mixed land use and greater land density so people can walk or bike more easily.
  • Provides quality mass transit to reduce dependence on personal vehicles.
  • Builds pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure including sidewalks and bike paths.
  • Ensures access to affordable housing for all people.
  • Creates community centers where people can come together.
  • Increases access to green spaces and parks.
Poor community design elements are related to some of the leading causes of death and disability in the US such as injuries, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and asthma.

Where you live matters to your health. Healthy community design provides the following benefits:
  • Promotes physical activity, thereby reducing adult and childhood obesity
  • Improves air quality by lowering air pollution.
  • Lowers risk of injuries.
  • Reduces traffic injuries.
  • Increases social connection and sense of community.
  • Reduces contributions to climate change.
Communities designed with health in mind have many features in common. Those main features are:
  • Accessible, reliable public transit options, like buses or trains
  • Safe, well-maintained sidewalks and bike paths
  • A variety of grocery stores, especially those that stock fresh produce and culturally appropriate foods.
  • Safe, affordable housing
  • Safe parks and public spaces

Check out the Explore Community Design data tab for Utah-specific community design data.
Our visualizations include greenhouse gases, access to parks and elementary schools, commute time, types of transportation to work, and proximity of population and schools to highways.

Healthy community design includes a variety of principles:
Principles of Good Community Design
Community design is one of several social determinants of health.

Access to healthcare, economic stability and income, neighborhood and physical environment, education, food access, and community and social context are intimately connected to health. These are collectively known as the social determinants of health.

Here's an example of how social determinants impact health: residents of less educated and lower income ZIP codes are more likely to have heart disease, cancer, and a lower life expectancy than those of ZIP codes with higher levels of education and income.
Picture of a bike Designing healthier places to live is a collaborative effort between architects, city planners, government officials, and community members.
Whether it's transportation, healthy food, safe housing, or public spaces that promote health, community design is all about access to essentials for quality of life. As a member of your community you can promote health through community design:
  • Attend community meetings where decisions are made about how land will be used, especially around public transit, sidewalks and bike paths, access to fresh, healthy foods, and parks and public spaces.
  • Talk with elected officials.
  • Work for policy change.


No related public data queries.

Click here to view all available public queries and metadata for all secure portal queries.
Utah Tracking collects greenhouse gas data from the greenhouse gas inventories from the Utah Geological Survey. Remaining community design data were obtained using the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network application program interface (API).

View complete metadata for:
The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 22 July 2024 13:18:11 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 26 Jun 2024 10:27:16 MDT