Our unhealthy streets: “Where are all the people?”

Thank you

Last night, I was eating dinner with an educational delegate from Hubei Province, China. He’s been in Traverse City for two weeks as part of research team hosted by NMC, our local college. As is natural, I asked him what he thought about Traverse City. His response hit home.

Where are all the people? When we go out, all I see are cars. No people.”

He then made reference with his hands to rounded and growing stomachs. Some gestures are universal. 

And, he’s right (CDC). Michigan ranks as the 5th most obese state. At current rates, by 2030 50% of Michiganders will be obese. Part of the issue is the design of our land use policies. The sprawling, car-centric planning has directly impacted our activity levels and increased social isolation. These two results then feed into one another and become a self-feeding loop. When we have visitors that don’t come from the same model, they tend to see it for what it is. Sometimes, they can be pretty direct about it.

Next week, two events are being held that are part of the change the needs to happen to help alter this perception.

Connected Communities | Complete Streets

The first is titled Join the Complete Streets Discussiona panel discussion hosted by the Complete Streets Coalition of the Grand Vision Transportation Network next Tuesday. It is geared towards elected officials, but panelists will have valuable perspectives for anyone interested in a more inclusive, complete approach to the street.

More info at: Connected.

Investigating Community Resilience recently interviewed me about the discussion and the status of the Complete Streets initiative locally. Embedded in the program are the two Public Service Announcements that MyWHaT teamed up with Stone Hut Studios to create.

ShapeMichigan

The second event is a Priority Health event presented by Munson Medical Center titled ShapeMichigan (Register). The ShapeMichigan event is a free event offering real-life solutions from physicians, local businesses and school and community leaders on how Michiganders can help turn back the rise in obesity rates.  Portions of the HBO documentary, The Weight of the Nation (HBO), will be shown and there is a health expo that begins at 5pm followed by programing from 6pm to 8:30 at the Great Wolf Lodge Conference Center next Wednesday.

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Have a weekend…take a walk…

…and, see you at one or both of these events next week? 

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Reminder: Before commenting, please read the comments policy. If you feel you need to rant against the world while raising enumerable tangential issues to personally attack individuals or organizations, consider creating your own blog and tracking back to MyWHaT. If it is of value, you will attract readers. Or, send me a message with all the rants you wish; I’m a connoisseur of ranting. Otherwise, please contribute to a healthy, friendly discussion in the comments section below.

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  1. Max Wolf
    November 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Kind of ironic that an event like that would be held at the Great Wolf Lodge…a place that’s really only accessible by driving.

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