Creating Healthier Communities

Cool Communities can provide significant health benefits to Oregonians by creating better opportunities to safely walk, bike or take transit. More active transportation options translate to increased physical activity and better health for residents, as well as less air pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Making it easier to walk and bike

Land use policies, development patterns and our transportation systems affect how we commute to work, run errands and other activities. Oregonians want to live in communities where people of all ages have many options to get where they need to go, without having to get in a car, including walking, biking, or using public transit. Increasing evidence is showing that this is a particular priority for younger Millennials and aging Baby Boomers, two generations that will drive real estate trends for decades to come.

Changes to our neighborhoods that make it easier to not rely on the automobile will have positive health benefits: increased physical activity, decreased air pollution, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. It will take action at every level (local, state, national) to effectively meet that challenge.

In 2007, the state of Oregon adopted greenhouse gas reduction goals to help reduce global warming. In 2009, the state Legislature directed the Portland Metro region to begin planning to reduce climate impacts, and encouraged the state's other metropolitan regions to do so as well.

Better coordination of transportation and land use planning in Oregon's largest cities will help meet the challenge, particularly when over one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Fortunately, Oregon has begun to take steps to make this coordination happen.

Click here to find out more about Oregon's efforts to reduce grenhouse gas emissions from transportation, a process in which we are actively participating to ensure successful results for Oregon communities.

Making our air cleaner

We can reduce air pollution by making it easier for Oregonians to walk or bike rather than relying on the car for every trip. Less driving equals less air pollution. Even short auto trips that involve a 'cold start' (where the engine has cooled for an hour) can generate as much air pollution as a longer trip.

Ultimately, creating healthier neighborhoods starts with good street connectivity, a diversity of land uses, and creating jobs closer to where people live. 1000 Friends is dedicated to encouraging such patterns throughout Oregon.

Return to our Cool Communities page.