We’re On the Right Path

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Do you ever wonder why it is so difficult to get daily exercise?  Maybe, it’s because we can’t safely exercise outdoors where we live.

Studies show that urban planning significantly impacts the physical activity level of people.  Over the past half-century, communities have focused on moving cars, which has resulted in fewer opportunities for folks to incorporate safe physical activity into their daily routine.

Auburn Hills wants to meet both the desires of motorists and recreation.  We aspire to become a model active living community.  There is a simple socio-economic reality behind our goal.  Consumer preference studies show that the majority of people decide where they live based on a community’s sense of place.  Recreational opportunities help shape the identify of a desirable “place” in terms of contributing to a high quality of life.  Many people like to live where they can walk, jog, bicycle, and play.

So, we decided to test ourselves to see where Auburn Hills can improve.  We participated in an assessment called the Promoting Active Communities program, which evaluated how well the City facilitates and encourages people to be physically active.  Auburn Hills received the program’s Silver Award.  We did quite well in comparison to our peers.

The assessment helped us understand some areas where Auburn Hills can improve.  One of the biggest areas recommended in the assessment for improvement is bicycling facilities.  The assessment suggested that we create a bike routes program, add bike lanes in certain roads, and place bike racks in strategic locations to encourage bicycling.  These types of changes take intentional planning, money, and years to implement.

So, watch as Auburn Hills works to become a model active living community … one step and pedal at a time.