About Designing Healthy Communities

Public health has traditionally associated the “built environment” with issues such as poor sanitation, lead paint poisoning children, workplace safety, fire codes and access for persons with disabilities. If we are what we eat, it can also be said that we are what we build. We now realize that how we design the built environment may hold tremendous potential for addressing many of the nation’s – childhood and adult — current public health concerns. These include obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, depression, violence and social inequities.

Almost everything in our built environment is the way it is because someone designed it that way. The project’s goal is to offer best practice models to improve our nation’s public health by re-designing and restoring our built environment.”Our country faces grave challenges in environment, economy and health. The banquet is over. “Easy oil” has disappeared, so too other resources are being depleted. And global heating increasingly will threaten human and species survival worldwide. Economies built on ever increasing consumption have contracted and secure incomes are unlikely to be available to working people for a long time, if ever. And our medical care costs will continue to escalate for reasons of technology and population aging, but particularly as the tripling of obesity and doubling of diabetes rates show their health and cost effects.

I think we must search for solutions that solve problems across many challenges; piecemeal strategies will fail. We must start from the bottom up which means creating buildings and communities that use less resources and much less fossil fuels, at the same time offering a rich engagement in life, meaningful work, local healthy food, and plenty of “incidental” physical activity. And from the top down, we must develop policies that incentivize “smart buildings” and “smart communities” and disincentivize plans and construction that threaten our national well-being and survival.”

~ Dr. Richard Jackson, M.D.


Designing Healthy Communities Press Kit

The DHC Press Kit provides information on the show’s focus, biography of its host, Dr. Richard Jackson, and includes a selection of press clippings and viewer responses. Click here for the DHC Press Kit.



Designing Healthy Communities is a project of the Media Policy Center, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to illuminating contemporary issues and offering innovative solutions.  Please visit the Media Policy Center site to learn more.

Richard Jackson, MD, MPH
Host, narrator on whose writings, research and teachings the series was based

Harry Wiland & Dale Bell
Executive Producers and Directors

Beverly Baroff
Producer, Writer & Editor

Dale Bell & Jonathan Bell
Principal cinematographers

David Loeb & Gary Griffin
Original music

David Rosenstein
Line producer

Charla Barker, Teresa Chang, Aaron Kemp
Associate Producers

Teresa Chang & Adil Khanna

For Oregon Public Broadcasting
Production Management Cheri Arbini & Susan Boyd
OPB Executives in Charge of Production Steven M Bass & David Davis


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