How might we strengthen Calgary's neighbourhoods to foster a healthy and active lifestyle?

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities | By: Emmy


“If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighbourhoods.” - Harvey Milk

Every citizen should live, play, or work within an inclusive neighbourhood that helps them live a healthy and active lifestyle. Being “active” or “healthy” within a community doesn’t solely relate to physical health. It also includes citizen engagement within local issues and how a neighbourhood is experienced. The natural, built, human, economic, and social environments of neighbourhoods shape our everyday lives. These environments are not experienced in the same way by every citizen due to the barriers that communities and neighbourhoods face.

By examining aspects and barriers to living a healthy and active lifestyle within neighbourhoods, we can learn how to strengthen neighbourhoods. This system map organizes neighbourhoods into environments and illustrates their aspects and barriers. There are stakeholder connections and causal relationships between these aspects and barriers, including some that exist only within certain environmental systems.

According to the UN, the better the conditions you create in your community, the greater the effect on the quality of life. It is up to citizens in coordination with local and provincial governments to advocate for strong communities and neighbourhoods through methods such as participatory planning.

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I've always been intrigued about how the environments we live and work in can impact our day-to-day lives. I had the opportunity to work closely with a rural municipality’s planning department and it truly opened my eyes as to how much the built and experienced environment can impact its residents. Our environments impact us mentally, physically, socially, and even economically! It is crucial to strengthen neighbourhoods and communities so that they are inclusive and healthy for all of its residents.