Dan Burden Named Blue Zones Fellow for Lifetime Achievement in People-First City Building

 

Blue Zones is pleased to announce that Dan Burden has been elected a Blue Zones Fellow. The Blue Zones Fellows is an honorary society that recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to Blue Zones community transformations and population-level well-being improvement initiatives.

Burden is the nation’s most recognized authority on walkability, bicycle and pedestrian programs, intersection design, traffic calming, road diets, and people-first planning. For 45 years, he has been a pioneer who helped policymakers in over 3,800 cities around the country create healthier cities, one neighborhood at a time. His work bridges the gap between research and action by using evidence-based policymaking to achieve real results. He has helped define and shape the future of vibrant communities and the field of community well-being improvement.

The White House recognized Burden as one of the top ten Champions of Change in Transportation, TIME magazine called him “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world,” and his peers at Planetizen list him as one of the 100 most significant urban thinkers of all time, along with the likes of Walt Disney, King Charles, and Frank Lloyd Wright. He co-founded Walkable Communities, Inc. and helped to develop the longest recreational trail in the world (TransAmerica Bicycle Trail).

Dan Buettner, Blue Zones founder and National Geographic fellow and explorer, said “More than anyone else in the last century, Dan Burden is responsible for making the bicycle a viable form of transportation and recreation. Before Dan Burden came along in the mid-1970s with his Bikecentennial project, bikes were only for children. Now, almost 30% of adults ride bikes. I regard him as the single most influential pioneer for bringing walkability and bikeablity to America.”

More than anyone else in the last century, @DanBurden is responsible for making the bicycle a viable form of transportation and recreation. —@thedanbuettner Click To Tweet

Ben Leedle, CEO of Blue Zones and Co-founder of Blue Zones Project, said: “Dan Burden was part of the original team who conceived and executed the first Blue Zones Project in Albert Lea, MN. Together, we created a model for well-being transformation at the community level that worked, and it sparked a movement that has now spread to over 70 communities around the country. It is my pleasure to celebrate Dan’s many contributions to our organization, the communities we serve, and the Nation.”

Together, we created a model for well-being transformation at the community level that worked, and it sparked a movement that has now spread to over 70 communities around the country. —Ben Leedle, CEO of Blue Zones Click To Tweet

Burden’s work inspiring the transformations of communities impacts both current and future generations: In Blue Zones Project Albert Lea, for example, his leadership helped revitalize their failing downtown area, which resulted in a 25% increase in property values, millions of revenue from the mixed-use downtown development, a 68% increase in downtown pedestrian traffic, a 38% increase in overall biking and walking, and a 72% reduction of crashes on the rebuilt street. In the similar small town of Muscatine, Iowa, Dan inspired town leaders to focus on a people-first approach, resulting in not only a healthier town, but one that attracted $700 million in added development projects and places.

Dan Burden, commenting on his career, said, “Never have I been a chief technician in this field, but as my love for people and places became widely known, the best mentors in North America surrounded me. They helped me collect and share forgotten basic steps for designing cities for walkability. These steps are the oldest and most honored way to design blocks, neighborhoods, and towns. I learned and then shared the past traditional ways to build healthy human habitats. As a result of my career, today there are thousands of well-trained, well-practiced specialists and resources to fuel the oldest and healthiest ways to move. As a Blue Zones Fellow I feel empowered to continue my journey to build cities for health, sustainability, and prosperity.”

As a Blue Zones Fellow I feel empowered to continue my journey to build cities for health, sustainability, and prosperity. —@DanBurden Click To Tweet