Active Living Strategy #5: Locate Schools Within Easy Walking Distance Of Residential Areas

Our Healthier Communities Initiatives are built on the concept that local communities can work together to give all community members healthy choices and support the pursuit of healthy lifestyles.  More than 160 Ys are working in collaboration with community leaders to make changes in policies and the physical surroundings in those communities so that healthy living is within reach for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.




Active Living Strategy #5: Locate Schools Within Easy Walking Distance Of Residential Areas

Neighborhood schools have many benefits to children, families, and the environment. Schools that are located in neighborhoods near residential areas are more walkable and help children stay active by walking and biking to school.

 

Schools that are located in neighborhoods near residential areas are more walkable and help children stay active by walking or biking to school. Many states have enacted policies that encourage schools to be preserved or developed centrally. For example, Maryland does not have any minimum acreage requirements for schools, which helps reduce the likelihood of urban sprawl. Laws in Vermont, Florida, and Maryland encourage coordination of school site planning between the school board and government agencies. In Vermont, funding for school renovations is given precedence over funding for new school development. Based on a model conducted by the EPA, neighborhood schools would reduce traffic, increase walking and biking by 13 percent, and reduce emissions by 15 percent.




References

  1. Kouri, C. (1999). Wait for the Bus: How Low Country School Site Selection and Design Deter Walking to School and Contribute to Urban Sprawl. South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Duke University - Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/recordDetail?accno=ED451681. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  2. United States Environmental Protection Agency (2003). Travel and environmental implications of school sitting. EPA 231-R-03-004. http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/school_travel.pdf. Retrieved November 15, 2010.

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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.