Health by Design
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Creating built environments to foster healthy living

Mission | Values & Principles | Priorities | Structure

Health by Design: Celebrating Ten Years

Health by Design brochure

Health by Design is a coalition of diverse partners working to ensure that communities throughout Indiana have neighborhoods, public spaces and transportation infrastructure that promote physical activity and healthy living.

Health by Design helps create healthy, thriving communities by convening diverse partners, educating on best-practices, facilitating dialogue, promoting smart design, providing technical assistance and advocating for policy change.

By raising awareness, providing education and encouragement, and monitoring how the places we create affect how well we live, Health by Design champions a built environment that promotes active living and protects the natural environment.

The environment in which we live often makes it difficult to choose healthy behaviors.

Over the past several decades, as the automobile took a central role in our lives, and convenience became an obsession, we designed our communities accordingly …

… neighborhoods with no sidewalks
… retail and service outlets more accessible by car than other means
… suburbs spread far and wide, disconnected from services, amenities and each other
… schools built far from homes, for students arriving by bus and car
… streets unfriendly to pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized travelers

The impact? A nation that grows increasingly physically inactive, and that suffers from health problems as a result, including obesity and related chronic diseases. Health by Design exists to help community leaders and policy-makers examine and improve the places we live, work, learn and play, advocating and encouraging environments that accommodate and inspire physical activity – and that, as a result, help us become healthier and happier.

Our Mission: to create a built environment that promotes physical activity and protects the natural environment through education, advocacy and action.

Our Values and Principles:


  • Integrity: Demonstrating respect and fairness toward all, valuing each person’s opinions and skills, and conveying the Coalition’s message honestly and ethically.
  • Cooperation: Communicating and making decisions based on clear, open processes, the inclusion of many voices, and consensus building when possible.
  • Achievement-oriented: Setting measurable goals and timelines to evaluate the success and progress of the Coalition’s efforts.
  • Learning Experience: Emphasizing education, both with our members and through community outreach efforts, to strengthen and develop the Coalition and Mission.
  • Fun!

  • Inclusivity: We will strive to create diversity among our membership and not discriminate based on race, color, nationality, ethnic origin, religious belief or affiliation, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic background, or any other inappropriate distinction.
  • Community-focused: Whenever possible, we will promote citizen participation in the planning and implementation strategies of programs to which we contribute, striving to encourage stakeholder involvement in activities for the betterment of the environment and health of the citizens of greater Marion County.
  • Economically Viable: Consideration will be given to the economic viability of proposals and initiatives pursued. Although not the only factor in decision-making, we will strive to consider the economic viability of any actions and the impact on those involved before proceeding with a course of action.
  • Follow Best Practices: To maximize efforts and resources, policy, programmatic and procedural “best practices” will be followed. If there are no “best practices” for any work proposed, the coalition may implement other suggestions, but the efforts will have to be evaluated to justify future use.

Our Priority Goals:

  • Increase walking, biking and public transit options
  • Encourage responsible land use
  • Improve neighborhood, city and regional connectivity
  • Reduce automobile dependency

Our Structure: Learn more on the Committees page