The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is striving to create a “culture of health” so that all Americans are empowered and able to lead healthy lives. The culture of health movement aims to break down the barriers to health currently faced by many Americans. While some of these barriers are linked to the healthcare system, many fall beyond healthcare and reside in the structure and condition of the built environment.
The culture of health vision is one in which your zip code doesn’t determine your health status. As highlighted in this video [below] from RWJF, the current state of many American communities allows geography to be the greatest predictor of health. Location impacts access to healthy food, opportunities for exercise, healthcare, education and employment – all of which influence individual health.
The green building movement has a role to play in achieving the culture of health vision due to its ability to influence building and neighborhood design. For example, strategies that incentivize building placement near public transportation not only reduce emissions and increase physical activity but also increase access for low-income populations, which has the potential to impact access to services and jobs.
This year, RWJF awarded 6 communities around the country for their efforts towards creating a localized culture of health. A common theme across all 6 prize winners is the multidisciplinary nature of their approach. Find out more about the prize winners on the RWJF website and learn about the green strategies present in these communities by exploring the associated GBIG Place pages highlighted at the top right-hand side of this post.