Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Active Design Guidelines 2.0: Promoting Whole Person Health

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

January 3, 2020




In Progress


The environments in which people live, work, and play can have a profound impact on their health and wellbeing.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is challenging, and it can be even more challenging when one’s neighborhood is unsafe, infrastructure is in disrepair, or the closest green space is a subway ride away. Active Design is an evidence-based approach that offers practical solutions to support healthy communities. In 2010, the first Active Design Guidelines (ADGs) were developed in New York City and, in 2013, Mayor Bloomberg signed an executive order that required the implementation of Active Design strategies within all new City-funded construction and major renovation projects. As the 10-year anniversary of the initial ADGs approaches, New York City will undertake a comprehensive update to the ADGs to incorporate strategies for “whole person health”—capturing mental wellbeing, social cohesion, equity, safety, civic trust, and community engagement. In 2020, NYSHealth awarded the Center for Active Design (CfAD) a grant to update the decade-old ADGs to promote healthier buildings, streets, public spaces, and other aspects of the built environment.

Under this grant, CfAD will work directly with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) and other stakeholders to create an ADG 2.0., informed by the latest academic research and best practices in the field. CfAD will strategically incorporate insights from NYSHealth’s Building Healthy Communities initiative to build upon existing grantee partnerships and leverage key learnings to inform the updated guidelines. For the research phase, CfAD will lead a comprehensive community engagement plan, including interactive workshops, expert interviews, and targeted focus groups, to inform the new guidelines. CfAD will then draft in-depth content and provide editorial support for the ADG 2.0 update. It will include case studies and other stories from Building Healthy Communities grantees and other community-based initiatives. Visually appealing, easy-to-understand infographics for both ADG practitioners and community members will be created. When ADG 2.0 is ready to be launched, CfAD will provide in-person and Web-based trainings to relevant New York City agencies and key practitioners. It will also work with NYCDOHMH to develop fact sheets, editorials, and other materials to advance the City’s ADG 2.0 policy agenda. An updated ADG 2.0 can increase implementation of healthy design and development strategies; increase adoption of health-promoting policies; and, ultimately, improve neighborhood health outcomes.