A major tenet of the Dayton Riverfront Plan is to achieve a healthy city where places and programs support health, safety, and wellness for all who live, learn, work and play along the riverfront. In the Miami Valley, more than a third of adults are obese and one in nine adults has been diagnosed with diabetes. One in six adults report having 14 or more poor mental health days in a month. While regional averages, these negative health outcomes are not necessarily spread evenly in the region, with some of our communities experiencing these at a higher level compared to others.
One way to achieve better health outcomes and promote good quality of life is by making improvements in the physical environment that supports active living lifestyles. The Dayton Riverfront Plan’s proposed projects that will make the active choice an easier choice include:
- Expanding bikeways
- Providing greater river access
- Enhancing existing parks
- Creating new parks
Active living isn’t only getting to the gym or going for a run, but integrates physical activity into everyday life routines. Activities such as walking to the store, biking to work/school or spending leisure time outside all contribute to active living.
Providing increased access and opportunity in communities is a means by which the Dayton Riverfront Plan can positively impact the health and well-being of the region’s residents. These strategies to ease unbalanced access include improving safety and accessibility and providing local neighborhood connections to the river where previously none existed.
Neighborhoods surrounding the rivers have great potential for a pedestrian-friendly environment – making connections to the river can have a greater positive impact. Active choices can become a little easier when more connections between places can be reached through non-motorized means of transport, or when facilitating increased activity at the river level with a range of active and passive recreation opportunities.
Healthy cities and communities are made up of more than just medical offices and hospitals. According to the American Planning Association, a healthy community is one “where all individuals have access to healthy built, social, economic and natural environments that give them the opportunity to live to their fullest potential regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, income, age, abilities or other socially defined circumstances.”
A healthy community does not happen by accident. It requires a comprehensive approach, and implementing the Dayton Riverfront Plan is a key piece to unlocking this potential.