Land-use webinar to focus on planning for healthy communities

October 08, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — How can land-use planners develop designs for healthy communities? That will be the topic of a Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension at noon on Oct. 15.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar will be Heather Mikulas, extension educator based in Allegheny County, and Peter Wulfhorst, extension educator based in Pike County.

The webinar will spotlight the role planners can play in helping government officials, business leaders and citizens create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live, according to Wulfhorst.

"Planning for Healthy Communities: Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice" will explain how planners can promote safe streets, expand public transportation and ensure quality housing, safe schools, clean air and water, and access to healthy and affordable food.

"The United States ranks 37th among industrial nations with regard to a healthy population, and communities nationwide are recognizing the critical link between our built environments and public health," Wulfhorst said. "How well we plan land-use, food systems, transportation and natural resource protection will have dramatic effects on our communities far into the future."

Where you live plays an important role in how healthy you are, Wulfhorst pointed out. The physical design of your community, including access to parks, healthy and affordable food, safe roads, and clean air and water can increase your life expectancy.

"How we plan and build our cities and communities shapes our physical experience and is one of the factors in having healthy communities. Innovative community planning and development can be an important health-improvement tool."

Webinars offered in the monthly land-use series, which all start at noon and are recorded for future viewing, include the following:

--"Designing Entrepreneurial-friendly Communities" (recorded).

--"How to Make your Comprehensive Plan Support Economic Development" (recorded).

--"How Can Planners Work to Enhance Community Food Systems?" (recorded).

--Oct. 15: "Planning for Healthy Communities: Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice."

--Nov. 19: "Engaging Your Community's Generations in Planning."

The cost of the webinar series is $30 for all five webinars and $60 for all five webinars for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

To register, visit Penn State Extension's Economic and Community Development Team website. For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 08, 2014