Municipal Plans

Land use and planning is an effective tool in creating environments that support healthy lifestyles. Changes to the General or Comprehensive Plan, Area Specific Plans and Bike and Pedestrian Master Plans that incorporate opportunities for residents to be active in a safe environment are another opportunity for cities to promote physical activity and access to healthy food.

The Comprehensive Plan, or General Plan, serves as the municipal roadmap for future growth. It is the document from which land use policies, zoning, economic development priorities, infrastructure investment and service provision flow. It typically is updated every 10 to 20 years. The update provides an opportunity to put health at the center of future growth and development. Health goals and policies can be housed in a separate health element or integrated throughout the plan. San Pablo, CA: Low cost general plan updates includes a separate health element ChangeLab Solutions' "How to Create and Implement Healthy General Plans"
Area Specific Plans apply to specific gegographic areas within a city, for example the downtown. They establish land use, density, street standards, location of services and facilities. They most often are linked to specific development proposoals and projects. Menlo Park, CA: Downtown specific plan increases mix of commerical and residential uses, expands walking and biking ChangeLab Solutions' "General Plans and Zoning"
Bike and Pedestrian Master Plans address the needs and opportunities for safe walking and biking. Their geographic focus can be large or small. These plans address pedestrian and bike infrastructure like sidwalks, crosswalks, lanes and paths, and also programs to support safe walking and biking Elk Grove, CA: Bike and pedestrian master plan identifies existing facilities, opportunities, constraints, and destination points for bicycle users and pedestrians. Institute for Local Government's Creating a Roadmap for Producing and Implementing a Master Bicycle Plan