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Making the Case > Bottom-Line Benefits > Why Should We Invest in Creating Healthy Communities?

Why Should We Invest in Creating Healthy Communities? - herd of cattle“It’s not my job to keep people healthy.” Contrary to what many municipal leaders, councillors and business owners believe, it’s everyone’s job to keep rural residents healthy.

Every decision, from the snow-clearing policy to the staffing of health professionals in a community, affects community members’ health.

Our physical and social environments, employment and working conditions, and even culture influence individual health.

So, what are the benefits of investing in communities that enable people of all ages to be active?

  • More recreational opportunities for all.

  • Well designed and managed spaces and places where people can participate in active living together or individually.

  • Increased pride among residents in their community.

  • Greater community appeal for tourists.

  • More young families staying in the community.

  • Increased participation by community members in beautification projects, organized recreation or social events.

  • Less crime and fear of crime.

  • Reduced traffic and parking issues (because town residents are using more active transportation).

  • Improved access to local businesses and organizations by people with disabilities.

  • Increased use of and contribution to community halls and facilities.

  • More local use of active transportation (walking, cycling, wheeling).

It’s always helpful to learn from other communities’ experiences. Check out this website’s Success Stories to read about rural communities that are making their communities more active and healthier places to live.

How Much is This Going to Cost?

Budgets are tight. We’re all expected to do more with less. Is it possible to invest in creating a more active community?

Actions or ideas can include both low- and high-cost budget items. Long-term, multi-party involvement is usually the best approach to share the cost, workload and benefits of any initiative. Check out this website’s Ideas section or the Find Out More section below to help you get started.

You can access many external sources of financial support. We have listed a few organizations below that offer funding. Of course, each funding source comes with some limitations and requirements, but you may find one that works for your community.

Find out More

General Information

  • Active Living Essentials: Rural Communities
    This Active Living by Design website focuses on increasing physical activity through community design. This particular section focuses on rural communities.

  • International Charter for Walking
    This charter gives communities the chance to encourage decision-makers to formally commit to creating a community that encourages people to be active. Use it as is or as a guideline for your work.

  • Physical Activity Backgrounder for Decision-Makers
    This backgrounder from the Alberta Centre for Active Living gives you information about the costs of physical inactivity and what community decision-makers can do to promote physical activity.

Funding Sources

Rural Route to Active Aging homepage