A Picture of Policy Change: What could policy change look like?

How can community-based design inspire policy? On March 27, we launched Healthy Places: Designing for Health in Alberta. It outlines why we should be building for health and equity, and provincial policy directions to help us get there.

Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 2.24.35 PM.png

Here’s what’s different about it: it provides images of healthy places that emerged from the imaginations of local residents and designers. It’s not just an argument for change, but a vision of what policy change can look like. Furthermore, it’s a community-based mandate: these images represent what citizens - voters - want to see in their communities.

This vision represents what citizens - voters - want to see in their communities.

Building places for health has multiple co-benefits: healthy places are age-friendly, business-friendly, climate-friendly and, if well-implemented, more equitable. The report on climate change in Canada leaked yesterday underlines the importance of doing things differently - in some ways, closer to how we did things in the 1910s, before cars became ubiquitous. Designing walkable, transit-oriented communities is the most effective way to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions. We often hear that to address climate change, our quality of life will be impacted. What I love about this strategy is that it doesn’t undermine our quality of life - quite the opposite.

We’re starting a conversation about #healthyplaces in Alberta. We’ll be sharing some of what we heard on March 27 - in a community conversation that spilled over to the local pub! - and hosting an event in the fall to flesh out our policy recommendations. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you about we’ve proposed, @sustainableyyc. What do you want to see for your neighbourhoods, and how can policy support that?

Celia Lee