Pioneer Perspective in Prevention: the Atlanta BeltLine

By Elle Alexander, Gillian Christie
“The Atlanta BeltLine is arguably the largest grassroots undertaking in the history of Atlanta, largely driven by residents of neighborhoods. … It is among the largest economic and social experiments going on in the country because the community is teaching us as we grow.”
—Paul Morris, CEO, Atlanta BeltLine.
The Atlanta BeltLine is the biggest redevelopment project in the city’s history and currently one of the major redevelopment initiatives in the U.S. It is a sustainable project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails, and transit by re-using 22 miles of historic railroad in Atlanta, Georgia.The BeltLine is a great example of a project focused on improving infrastructure having widespread positive impacts on health across all social groups.
The BeltLine was one of a number of pioneer perspectives showcased at the Atlanta Forum hosted by the Vitality Institute in collaboration with Georgia State University and Emory University. The Forum brought together speakers from the public and private sectors to discuss developing healthy and physically engaged populations, using the Vitality Institute Commission Recommendations as a stimulus for discussion. The dialogue centered on building support for public and private alignment for chronic disease prevention as well as expanding the portfolio of evidence by investing in prevention science. Rhonda Cornum of TechWerks commented: “It does not take overwhelming evidence to change policy; it takes sufficient evidence and political will.”
The Vitality Institute Commission, launched in May 2013 with a mission to place the power of evidence-based prevention at the center of health care policies and actions in the U.S, has undertaken research in several areas focused on chronic disease prevention and will release a Recommendations Report in June 2014 outlining strategic recommendations for health promotion in all sectors including pathways to success.
View the webcast of the event here.

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