People who live in strong, healthy communities live longer, have better quality-of-life, are more productive, have decreased health care costs, and are able to better manage disease when it occurs.
Healthy communities make it easy for people to be physically active, eat healthy diets, avoid tobacco use, and have healthy lifestyles. Most importantly, strong communities are attractive communities. People are proud to live in them, enjoy their amenities, and find others want to live and raise families there.
Healthy communities provide a landscape where people have access to things like:
- Opportunities to participate in sports and physical activity
- Access to healthy and safe food
- Indoor and outdoor recreation for the whole family
But simply providing access to such healthy options isn’t enough.
Our research—and the research of others—shows that if you build it they won’t necessarily come. Putting grocery stores in areas that lack food options isn’t enough to change diets and impact obesity. Putting walking trails in communities won’t assure they will be used. The key to strong and healthy communities is changing routines. Only by changing daily practices in our communities can we put grocery stores and walking trails to good use, making them an enjoyable, daily part of hometown life.
Where We Come In
The Wellscapes Support Team builds community strength, what we call “adaptive capacity,” by helping Community Hubs investigate, design, and sustain what is currently working in their healthy lifestyle efforts, while coping with challenges and taking advantage of new opportunities.
You may be familiar with other methods, such as:
- The community participatory research
- Institute for Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s PDSA cycles
- Adaptive Organizational Leadership.
All of these share a similar understanding of the need for systemic change and are good resources. But the Wellscapes approach combines this knowledge with recent developments in understanding how wellness landscape systems work, our research, practical experience and the success stories from our work of over 20 years.