Throughout California, city and county officials make
planning, policy and land-use decisions on a weekly basis.Typical
issues that local officials might confront include the following:
Can downtown be revitalized by providing a mix of commercial,
retail and residential uses?
Should a new town-home project be approved to replace a group
of old industrial warehouses?
How can streets and sidewalks be designed so that people of
varied ages and abilities can safely walk, bike or wheel to
school, work and shopping?
What can be done so that farms and ranches near the community
remain productive and economically viable?
How could buildings be constructed to conserve natural
resources, maximize energy efficiency and create healthy indoor
environmental quality for their occupants?
Local officials understand that the decisions they
make affect their community’s development. Many also
recognize that land-use decisions can have profound effects on
residents’ health. A community’s physical design and mix of land
uses can create barriers to healthy eating and physical activity.
Land use and transportation facilities can expose some
individuals to indoor and outdoor environmental pollutants. These
in turn can contribute to increased rates of obesity, diabetes,
heart disease, asthma and other serious health
Local officials have many reasons to be concerned about the
health of their community. Healthy residents are more actively
engaged in community life. A healthy work force is attractive to
current and potential employers who want to invest in the
community. In addition, many local agencies — particularly
counties — are responsible for serving the health, welfare and
public safety needs of residents. Healthier residents reduce the
pressure on tight local budgets to pay for health and social
services, public safety, parks and recreation programs,
transportation and transit and a number of other local services