Healthy People in Healthy Communities: A Dialogue Guide
A publication of the Coalition for Healthier Cities and Communities and
the Health Research and Educational Trust, 1999
Foreward by Tyler Norris

Growing a healthy community is a lifelong process - one that requires constant nurturing and vigilance. Healthy communities result from healthy choices and environments that support shared responsibility. Everyone has a role to play in building a healthier, more vibrant community.

The choices we make at home, work, school, play and worship determine most of what creates personal health and community vitality. To a great extent it's about how we spend our time, dollars and talents. But it's also about how we create settings in our communities that facilitate positive change.

Healthy communities help unleash human potential. They build trust and relationships. They mobilize the creativity and resources of the community towards a shared vision for the future. Healthy communities call for inspired leadership and action from every corner of our community.

Today, there is a gulf between the conversations people have around the kitchen table and the formal process of governance. We observe turf battles and fragmentation of efforts. We see our resources spent more on the symptoms of deeper problems and less on what generates health in the first place.

The Healthy Communities Agenda campaign is about engaging the voice and talents of community. It is designed to generate ideas and relationships across lines that divide us. It can lead to action for positive change by giving a focus to what communities can do and are doing - what they aspire to, and are achieving.

Aristotle defined a citizen as one who participates in power - the power to shape civic purposes and act in alignment with values. Acting upon a shared vision for the future is the foundation upon which a healthier community is built. This is the practice of local democracy and civic renewal.