Designing Healthy Communities
Designing Healthy Communities
Designing Healthy Communities
Item#: DHC-1017
Choose License:  Format: 

Running Time: 224 minutes
4 x 56 Minutes + Extras
Grades 10 – Adult
Closed Captioned • Scene Selection
Produced and Directed by Harry Wiland and Dale Bell
Edited, Written and Produced by Beverly Baroff, Media Policy Center



"Clever visuals and well-chosen footage make this both entertaining and informative. This might be a good way to get kids to talk about the relationship between the environment and good health."
–Booklist / ALA

“Highlights changes being made in forward-thinking communities – changes that foster better physical and mental health by redesigning the built environment.”
–Jane Brody, New York Times

“A thoughtful series and book that illustrates how and why building healthy communities is the right prescription for America.”
– George C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

“Jackson inhabits the frontier between public health and urban planning, and offers us hopeful examples of innovative transformations.”
– Will Rogers, President/CEO, Trust for Public Land

"Designing Healthy Communities directly addresses the 'soft underbelly' of our country's future, if one excuses this intentionally harsh pun; how we are building our communities is a major contributor to the obesity, diabetic and asthma epidemics, which may be the foremost threat to future of our country, its economy and quality of life."
- Christopher Leinberger, 
President, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors

Designing Healthy Communities is changing the way we think about the impacts of the built environment on public health. It is only a matter of time before Dr. Jackson teaches and inspires more people like myself to work towards improved public health through creative design for a better future for all.”
- George Maier, University of Georgia Master Program in Geography

“Given its action orientation and its provision of a blueprint for civic engagement and action, Designing Healthy Communities should be of particular interest to community psychologists and applied social psychologists interested in developing approaches to prevention and empowerment with historically disenfranchised persons and others experiencing health disparities.”
– Michael B. Blank, PhD, Psychiatry Department, University of Pennsylvania
– Marlene M. Eisenberg, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

"Editor's Choice. Highly Recommended. A thoughtful and provocative presentation of public health issues and their relationship to our communities--our built environment. Challenges us as voters, planners, and parents to rethink our day-to-day world. The videos will inspire young people as well as community leaders." 
Science Books and Films




All prices include DVD and PPR

Colleges, Government, Business (with DSL +$300):
• Set of 4 DVDs $595
• Set of 4 DVDs w/ Book $625
• Set of 4 DVDs w/Supplemental Media Collection $795
• Set of 4 DVDs w/Supplemental Media Collection + Book $825

K-12 Schools, Community Groups:
• Set of 4 DVDs $299
• Set of 4 DVDs w/ Book $329

Public Libraries:
• Set of 4 DVDs $139
• Set of 4 DVDs w/ Book $169
• Book only $55

NOTE: Purchase all 4 parts at a discount, or purchase individual parts
(click links below for individual pricing & more detailed descriptions)

Hosted by author and national health expert Dr. Richard Jackson, MD, MPH

Designing Healthy Communities is a 4 part series and companion book that takes a comprehensive look at the impact America’s built environment has on public health, and at the people and communities working to turn things around through innovative solutions. Many of today’s major health problems – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, cancer and depression – can be traced directly to nearly half-a-century of bad design decisions in urban and suburban areas. In each episode, Dr. Jackson travels the country to explore problems in a variety of communities, and profile best practice models. As Dr. Jackson illustrates, re-designing our built environment can improve both physical and mental health.


The first episode investigates the connection between our nation’s obesity and Type 2 Diabetes epidemic and suburban sprawl, fueled by dependency on the automobile. Communities profiled are seeking to combat the causes of diabetes by redesigning our car centric society.

Extra: "What Does Healthy Design Look Like?" Extended interview with Howard Frumkin, MD, Former Director, CDC's Center for Environmental Health


Many cities are struggling to resuscitate their dying downtowns and overcome a history of industrial pollution. This episode looks at how families and young people seek to repair main street America by rebuilding places of the heart.

Extra: "Creating Healthy Spaces" Lecture by Dr. Richard Jackson sponsored by the California Endowment.


Where you live is one predictor of how long you will live. This episode explores the deadly consequences of economically challenged neighborhoods located near highly polluted areas, and urban pioneers who seek to improve the health of their challenged communities.

Extra: "How Has Public Health Changed in Recent Years" Extended interview with Anthony Iton, MD, MPH, Former Director, Alameda County Dept. of Public Health


In the final episode, Dr. Jackson searches past and present America for model communities large and small that embody the intricate balance of health promoting design and human needs. Does the perfect community exist?

Extra: "Place Matters" Keynote presentation by Dr. Jackson before the American Public Health Association


By Richard Jackson and Stacy Sinclair
219 pgs

The Companion book to the Designing Healthy Communities video series highlights how we design the built environment, and its potential for addressing and preventing many of the nation’s devastating childhood and adult health concerns. Co-authors Jackson and Sinclair look at the root causes of our malaise and highlight healthy community designs achieved by planners, designers, health professions, and community leaders working together.

The Supplemental Media Collection

The Supplemental Media Collection is 4-disc set that explores issues presented in Designing Healthy Communities in greater depth, through 11 short films and a full two hour Town Hall Meeting in New York City

About Dr. Richard Jackson, MD, MPH:

Winner of the Heinz Award for his work in the environment, Dr. Jackson is Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA’s School of Public Health. Formerly, he was Chief Public Health Officer for the State of California, and served for nine years as Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Environmental Health. Dr. Jackson was inducted into the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors a doctor can receive, and is the only medical doctor elected to the Board of the American Institute of Architects, as well as the American Society of Landscape Architects.