Healthy Communities Campaign

The communities in which we live, work, and attend school have a significant impact on our health. Other than air quality, consideration of health impacts has not traditionally been part of land use and transportation decisions, yet communities with a lack of active transportation options are linked to poor health outcomes.


In 2010, the SANDAG Healthy Communities Campaign under Healthy Works awarded 12 competitive countywide grants for local jurisdictions and tribal governments to integrate public-health principles in local land use and transportation planning. This campaign aimed to:

Healthy Communities Campaign


  • Address public health in local policies, programs, and projects.
  • Address health disparities and inequities in lower income and minority communities.
  • Promote physical activity by increasing opportunities for walking, bicycling, parks and recreation, and the use of public transit.
  • Promote access to healthy, fresh, affordable, and nutritious foods in neighborhoods and schools.
  • Establish collaborative working relationships between health and planning agencies.
  • Build consensus in the community around public health needs and priorities through an inclusive process that engages a wide range of stakeholders.

Healthy Communities Campaign highlights:

  • Through Communities Putting Prevention to Work funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Healthy Communities Campaign allowed Healthy Works to provide technical assistance and support to the City of San Diego in addressing land development code and policy amendments in 2011.  These efforts represent significant policy, system, and environmental changes that offer immediate and long-lasting public health benefits to residents by increasing access to fresh food and income opportunities, especially in high-need communities. New code reduced barriers to urban agriculture, simplified the approval process for establishing farmers markets on private property, adjusted community garden regulations, and eased restrictions on keeping chickens, goats, and bees. The city strengthened its General Plan language, providing a strong policy base in support of urban agriculture, food systems planning, and further incorporation of public health concerns into the planning process.
  • The City of Chula Vista developed and adopted "Healthy Neighborhoods" policy language in its General Plan, which resulted in immediate public health benefits for residents by increasing access to fresh local produce through implementation of the Cilantro-to-Stores program. That program helped four corner stores in Chula Vista improve accessibility to fresh local produce for residents by establishing a distribution system between the stores and local farmers. The stores installed new, prominent displays that showcased the fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • The City of Encinitas developed a stand-alone Public Health Element during the cityís current Comprehensive General Plan Update process. The General Plan sets forth the policies, goals, and objectives to help guide land use and city-wide decisions for the next 20 years. The Public Health Element allows health-related issues to be further highlighted and analyzed, brings political visibility to health-related goals, and serves as a model to other suburban cities. The process allowed the city to engage a wider group of stakeholders to include public health professionals in advisory meetings and public workshops. In addition, educational materials were developed that illustrate to the community how city policies are linked to public health and wellbeing. 

SANDAG continues to offer incentive programs to cities in San Diego County in support of healthy municipal planning and development.  Learn more about these incentive programs and general information on SANDAG's Comprehensive Land Use and Regional Growth projects here.

To learn more about the Healthy Communities Campaign under Healthy Works, visit the SANDAG Healthy Works page