Where you live, learn, work, and play affects your health. Your opportunity to engage in healthy behaviors can be strongly impacted by the built environment around you, such as your home and neighborhood. There are some barriers that our public health system in Arizona is working to identify and develop strategies improve our communities.

Thirty-five million homes in America that have at least one health or safety hazard, and nearly 50 percent of Americans live in communities with unhealthy levels of air pollution associated with car exhaust and industrial pollution. In 2013, nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic collisions. The majority of these deaths are in low-income communities and communities of color, where sidewalks and streets are more likely to be poorly maintained. More than 23 million people in the U.S. live in a food desert where they don’t have access to healthy and affordable food.

Healthy community initiatives are taking place right here in Arizona to help address many of these issues. Initiatives to help design new neighborhoods and improve existing ones will improve our health and safety. The Arizona Alliance for Livable Communities (AALC), is a volunteer coalition comprised of public, private, for-profit, and non-profit multi-sector professionals, dedicated to ensuring that all Arizona communities are vibrant, safe, and healthy, while also providing equitable opportunities for all people to thrive. AALC’s mission is to educate, engage, and encourage communities and decision makers to transform cities and towns in ways that improve health, livability, and well being.

To find out more about how you can get involved with ensuring that your homes and neighborhoods are safe, healthy, vibrant places to live, you can visit AALC’s website.