What is the definition of a Healthy City?

A Healthy Community is where people come together to make their community better for themselves, their family, their friends, their neighbors and others in their community.

A Healthy Community
•  creates ongoing dialogue;
•  generates leadership  
•  shapes its future;
•  embraces diversity;
•  knows itself;
•  connects people and
   resources; and
•  fosters a sense of

How did the Healthy City movement begin?

The Healthy Communities Movement began in Toronto, Canada, in 1984 and quickly spread to Europe under the auspices of the World Health Organization.

The movement has grown rapidly since it was launched. There are currently 18 national networks and thousands of towns and cities actively involved in the United States and Canada, Europe, and, increasingly the developing world, all of which reflect this approach in varying degrees.

The model emphasized “the recognition that health and well-being are interconnected with social, cultural, physical, economic and other factors and that community-wide participation and collaboration are necessary to improve health and the quality of life.

What do Healthy Community Groups do?

Healthy Community groups in Massachusetts, like communities the world over who have joined the Healthy Communities movement, work together on local issues that affect health and quality of life, such as:

•  Public health concerns such as
   heart disease, substance abuse
   & air quality;
•  Housing and education;
•  Youth development;
•  Access to health/medical care;
•  Child care and elder care;
•  Recreation;
•  A clean and healthy
•  A safe environment;
•  Arts and cultural pursuits; and
•  Transportation.

What is common to all Healthy City projects?

While each Healthy Cities project is unique, all share some common elements:

•  A participatory model that
   grows both from the ground
   up and the top down

•  Ideas, action and solutions
   derived from coalitions of
   diverse groups

•  Funding as a result of local

•  Priorities set on a local
   basis and reflect local values

•  Conflict managed by
   dialogue and mediation

•  Continual self-evaluation that
   is part of the process, which
   is the focus

How do you build a
Healthy Community?

1. Work Together
Local residents work together in an existing or new coalition or group to:

•  Decide what health means for
   their community;
•  Learn more about the healthy
   communities approach;
•  Study the needs and assets of
   the community;
•  Identify problems and strengths in
   the community; and
•  Set goals to help the community
   build on its assets and become

2. Take Action
Using the goals, the coalition or group sets priorities and develops a plan of action.
•  The whole community works
   together with the coalition/group
   on the plan of action.
•  The coalition/group reports on
   successful outcomes to the
•  The process continues with the
   community building on its
   successes, setting new goals,
   initiating new activities and
   continuing the process of

Who creates a Healthy Community?

People are the key to a Healthy Community. Individual participants come in all ages, from all educational and economic backgrounds, and from all sectors of the community. Groups that may be involved include:
•  Municipal & local government
   and planners;
•  Local business, industry,
   economic development
•  Civic/cultural groups
•  CHNAs
•  Local residents
•  Faith organizations
•  Hospitals and health care
•  Health and social service
•  Youth groups/organizations
•  Education
•  Local newspapers, local radio
   and TV
•  Community foundations
•  Recreational groups and
•  The arts