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Iowa City, Iowa, Receives National Award for Excellence in Building a Healthy Community for Active Aging

Release Date: 02/17/2009
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Feb. 17, 2009) - Iowa City, Iowa, has been nationally recognized for a series of community planning strategies that support and encourage older adults to remain active through the exercise of walking.

Iowa City is one of only four U.S. communities to receive a 2008 Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Award, which recognizes outstanding community planning and other efforts to support active aging and smart growth to improve the quality of life for older residents. The cities of Portland, Ore., Casper, Wyo., and Satellite Beach, Fla., were also named as 2008 honorees.

The award, administered by EPA's Aging Initiative program, was developed in partnership with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The National Council on Aging's Center for Healthy Aging, the National Blueprint Office, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Active for Life program.

Iowa City was specifically recognized for implementing a variety of policies to improve its walking environment. A revised zoning code encourages commercial zones throughout the city, combining housing, shops, parkland and services to make walking a viable choice for conducting daily errands. A new streets policy requires all streets to be designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as cars. New subdivision codes require streets to connect, reducing dead ends and shortening distances that residents have to walk to get around.

The city, along with the Johnson County Livable Community for Successful Aging Policy Board, conducted a "Boomer Study" that found walking was the primary activity for 90 percent of Iowa City's active aging residents. The Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center encourages walking within the community through its Trail Blazers program, and offers a variety of fitness activities to complement seniors' walking routines.
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    The Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Award program encourages cities to combine and implement principles of smart growth
    with the concepts of active aging. Learn more

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