Monday, August 15, 2011

AIA NYC - Active Design Guidelines and the FIT-CITY Conference Series

Hi Will and Margot,

Nice to talk with you earlier today! I’m writing to follow up with a few additional ideas for your October 7th convening, and I’d love to stay in touch; please let me know anything else I can help with, or if you have other questions. I’m also attaching agendas for the last Fit City convenings; I do not have the agendas for the first two Fit City meetings, but you can find the reports documenting these conferences at:

1.       Agenda items: Our general format for Fit City meetings has involved the following--
--Presentation of the health evidence about growing obesity levels, diseases related to obesity, costs of obesity, and the connection of these issues to built environment strategies (I would suggest also heavily emphasizing the co-benefits of these strategies, esp. the economic benefits of creating walkable, bikeable, active and health communities)
--Built environment strategies/approaches that work: This could include overviews of relevant sections of your design guidelines, the ADG, etc., as well as 2-3 case studies of good projects that exemplify active design and lessons learned from those examples. On the project side, this is a good opportunity to highlight and gain buy-in from developers, architects, etc.
--Political support/leadership: Remarks from dept heads and other important officials abt the important of these issues, the role that their agency/org plays, etc.

2.       Other Agenda ideas:
a)    What’s next: We haven’t specifically had this on the agenda for Fit City meetings, but especially at a first meeting, I think it’s important to have time on the agenda to either present or discuss what follows this event. As I mentioned, I think this could be a great opportunity for breakout groups focused around specific topics (Education, Trainings, Policy, Inter-agency collaboration, etc) that report back to the big group.

b)      Time for interaction: Whether it’s through breakout groups or just time for networking post-meeting or a walking tour post-meeting (which we’ve organized following Fit City events), I think people really value having the time for more informal conversation on these issues.

c)       Using speakers to get buy-in:  I think NYC has been strategic abt using Fit City events to gain buy-in on active design from Dept Commissioners, developers, and big architecture firms. Even if you invite someone from an agency to speak that hasn’t already done a lot on these issues, they’ll need to at least share their thoughts, they’ll see the importance of these issues through the conference, and it may get them more invested in future work.

3.       Follow up
A few of the other CPPW communities with whom I work have recently conducted similar convenings on health and BE issues. Here are a few ideas to think abt in terms of follow up opportunities from the meeting:

a)      Interagency Task Force/Working group:  One of the communities with whom I’m working is starting to create an inter-agency task force on health and BE issues to look at developing policy recommendations.  As Rick mentioned, Fit City in NYC also led to the development of a more informal inter-agency and inter-disciplinary task force that created the Active Design Guidelines.

This kind of group could help: formulate policy solutions, develop programs, undertake joint reports, plan future meetings, raise $ together, etc.

b)      Trainings: We have two staff full time here in NYC that conduct trainings (and provide some limited 1-on-1 tech assistance, as well) on active design issues to architects, designers, planners, and agency staff. We have also organized some active design charettes for architects and others to explore actually taking the Active Design Guidelines and applying them to sample projects. Perhaps there’s the opportunity to conduct some more targeted follow up trainings and TA for interested architecture firms? And similarly, taking the Street Design Manual and organizing trainings/TA for engineering/planning firms?

Cheers, Kate


Kate Rube

Active Design National Training Manager

Active Design Program, City of New York

Center for Architecture / AIA New York Chapter

536 LaGuardia Place

New York, NY 10012

p 212.358.6118 | f 212.696.5022


Margot Ocañas
Policy Analyst
RENEW Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health, Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention      
695 S. Vermont Avenue
Suite 1400 South Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90005

Fit_City_3_Brochure.pdf Download this file

Fit City 5 Brochurefinal.pdf Download this file

Fit City 4 Brochure.pdf Download this file

Fit City 6 program_final.pdf Download this file

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