walkable city street

To Build a Healthier, More Prosperous, Resilient Community, Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice


When you were 8-years-old, how far were you allowed to roam without an adult? In 1919, a child could walk 10 miles without a parent to go fishing at a local pond, by the 50s children could only go about be expected to travel one mile unattended to play in the woods, and today many children are only allowed to go to the end of their block or neighborhood. A lot has changed in the world in terms of the built environment in the last 100 years.

[Related: The 15-Minute City—How Walkability is Gaining a Foothold in the U.S.]

Dan Burden, Director of Innovation and Inspiration at Blue Zones, believes the definition of a truly healthy community is one in which children can be free-range. “We need to get away from giving all of the energy to one mode of travel and getting back to our senses and to the basics,” he said.

We need to get away from giving all of the energy to one mode of travel and getting back to our senses and to the basics. — Dan Burden, Director of Innovation & Inspiration, Blue Zones Click To Tweet

In the video below, Burden describes the healthiest places in the world—the blue zones—and addresses how communities can model their roads, sidewalks, parks, and public transportation after these extraordinary places to navigate a pathway to health while building sustainable urban places, making active transportation the easy choice, and creating age-friendly spaces where everyone can live better, longer.

Burden has 50 years of experience designing cities for human and community health. Almost 10 years ago, he joined the Blue Zones team to help create the formula for Blue Zones Communities and reimagine places where the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone, everywhere.



This keynote was first presented at the Healthy City Design International in 2019 and was first published on SALUS.

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