Local partnerships can achieve impressive and lasting results from healthy community initiatives that fully employ Active Living By Design’s Community Action Model. These impacts stem from actions taken during the 3P process, from integrating the Essential Practices, and from each of the strategies that are implemented.


Early Impacts:

  • Promotions and programs can help generate media attention and deliver early wins that build public support for more complex policy and systems changes.
  • The Partner and Prepare action steps result in stronger relationships between partners and community members, motivating and mobilizing them to work for a healthier community.
  • Local leaders and coalitions will also have a better understanding of their community, more experience setting priorities, new health leadership opportunities, and success in leveraging resources.

Intermediate Impacts:

  • Successful pilot projects of policies (like shared-used agreements, complete streets design guidelines, and supermarket and garden ordinances) and built environments (like new sidewalks, gardens, and farmers’ markets) build credibility and capacity, allowing healthy community work to deepen in a community.
  • When policies and environmental changes that support health are maintained, they not only create improved community conditions, but can also outlast shifting budgets or turnover in organizations.
  • Other impacts can include new investments; re-directed budget priorities to support more healthy community projects; stronger relationships and collaboration between residents and decision makers; and new staff in various organizations and agencies for ongoing work.

Sustainable Impacts:

  • Systems changes often lead to an integrated web of health supports, with multiple sectors coming together to align their priorities around the community’s health and wellbeing.
  • Health becomes embedded into institutional processes. For example, local government departments may change the way they operate by prioritizing spending, new development, and built projects in order to maximize services and policies and provide safe, affordable access to healthy lifestyles for all residents.
  • Community norms begin to shift toward healthier patterns through a mutually-reinforcing increase in supports for healthier behaviors and public demand for healthy living.

Community Change:

  • As the integrated web of health supports deepen and mature in communities, residents become healthier. Partnerships and relationships also continue to evolve with intention and increasing capacity, enabling coalitions to address other important quality-of-life issues.
  • Residents have more equitable health outcomes and maintain influence in decisions that affect them and their community. Businesses, governments, nonprofits, and coalitions understand their role in reinforcing residents’ expectations and priorities. Communities experience a host of benefits from their long-standing priority on health, including increased civic engagement, employment, educational attainment, safety, and quality of life.
  • Successful and sustainable healthy community change initiatives will ultimately create a culture of health in communities, where health is embedded in the community’s identity. The neighborhoods, schools, parks, streets, food venues, and other public spaces where the changes occur support and reflect healthy patterns of living, learning, working, and playing, serving as role models to other communities just beginning their path to health.


To learn more about impacts from a community-led action approach, explore these resources, stories, and lessons learned. Additional resources can be found on our Resources and Blog pages by using the tags.