Cities and counties use a variety of approaches to
actively promote their local economy’s growth and vitality.
Economic development efforts also provide ways for local
officials to promote healthier neighborhoods.
Research has shown that many businesses, particularly
those that offer more generous wages and benefits, choose to
locate and stay in communities that deliver a higher quality of
life to current and prospective employees. In many cases,
these quality–of-life elements — trails and bikeways, parks and
recreation programs, walkable town centers, urban forests and
neighborhoods free of excessive noise and air pollution — also
contribute to a healthier population.
Communities change over time, evolving in response to
demographic trends, changing economic conditions and other
circumstances. Guiding this change in a positive direction is an
important function of local government, particularly in older
neighborhoods that have lost jobs and local businesses as their
traditional economic activities have weakened or become obsolete.
These neighborhoods often suffer from aging infrastructure and
inadequate public and private investment as well as other social
and economic challenges.
Healthy neighborhoods provide a range of housing types —
single-family homes, duplexes, town homes and apartments — to
suit the needs of diverse cross section of residents. A
neighborhood’s housing stock can have implications for the health
of its residents. Important factors in assessing the potential
effects of housing on health include design, maintenance,
location, affordability and conditions in the surrounding