The places where we live, work, and play have a big impact on our health. When such places are designed to promote physical activity, they can help prevent or alleviate obesity and other health problems. This is especially important in lower-income communities, where people are at the greatest risk for obesity and obesity-related diseases, and where studies show opportunities supporting active living for adults and children may be less prevalent. This Web Forum will discuss the Active Design Guidelines (ADG), a set of evidence-based and best-practice urban and building design strategies that emerged from a multi-sector partnership co-led by the New York City Health Department. The ADG provides strategies for creating neighborhoods, streets, and outdoor and indoor spaces that encourage walking, bicycling, active transportation and recreation, and active movement like stair use in buildings. Presenters will focus on how funders and developers of affordable housing can apply the guidelines using low-cost and cost-neutral strategies identified through a recent ALR-funded study Active Design: Affordable Designs for Affordable Housing. Speakers, including co-authors, will discuss implementation issues identified in the study, as well as implementation opportunities such as trainings for design, planning, and real estate professionals, and integration of ADG strategies into housing development RFPs and standards. The ADG can be downloaded currently at, and the ADG supplement, Affordable Designs for Affordable Housing, is also available for download.


Karen K. Lee, MD, MHSc, FRCPC

Senior Advisor, Built Environment and Healthy Housing Program

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

New York, NY

Karen K. Lee, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, is Senior Advisor to the Built Environment & Healthy Housing Program at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Lee has been the lead for the NYC Health Dept. in its work with 12 city agencies including the NYC Departments of Design…

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Gayle Nicoll, PhD

Dean of the Faculty of Design

Ontario College of Art and Design University

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Gayle Nicoll, Dean of the Faculty of Design, an architect, and environmental researcher has focused her teaching and research on human behaviour related to spatial typologies, building features and technology, human behavior and design practices related to healthy environments. Her research examining the physical environmental features that promote physically…

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Brian Prater, MPA

Senior Vice President, Strategic Development and Corporate Affairs

Low Income Investment Fund

San Francisco, CA

Brian Prater is the Senior Vice President for Strategic Development & Corporate Affairs at the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF). LIIF is a national Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in San Francisco. LIIF is one of the largest affordable housing, education and childcare facility lenders in the country, and…

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Shampa Chanda, MCP

Director of Preservation Planning and Disposition, Division of Planning, Marketing and Sustainability

NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development

New York City

Shampa Chanda is currently Director of Preservation Planning and Disposition at NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. She manages disposition of select HPD sites, enhances HPD’s preservation programs, incorporates active design elements in select HPD projects, and consults on zoning-related initiatives. In addition to her role at HPD, she…

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Deborah Lou, PhD

Program Analyst, Active Living Research

A National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

University of California, San Diego

Debbie Lou is the program analyst with Active Living Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Debbie engages advocacy, policy, and community groups to develop opportunities for research translation and dissemination, especially to ensure the research meets the needs of communities at highest risk for childhood obesity.…

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