Parks and open space are among cities' most valuable assets, and they are prime drivers of community health - both physical and emotional - and of municipal economic health. A park system that is accessible to all residents, well funded, well maintained, well programmed and well used is known as a Complete Parks System.
Access to everyday physical activity through sidewalks and bike paths, the availability of parks and open space for recreation, close proximity of housing to grocery stores, farmers markets and community gardens all depend on good land use policies. Cities' land use tools of planning, zoning and infrastructure investment can have a positive impact on community health.
Cities have powerful planning, economic development, and public relations tools to attract healthy food to underserved neighborhoods. Cities are focusing these tools on establishing healthy corner stores, grocery stores, farmer's markets, community gardens and urban farms in the neighborhoods that most need them.
Cities can reduce the impact of stress and poor health on their employees by creating a work environment, and programs, that support nutrition, physical activity, breastfeeding and stress reduction. A healthier workplace can contribute to increased morale, fewer sick days and higher productivity.