The NYC Active Design Guidelines are a set of best practices that aim to inform organizations about how environmental, urban, and building design can knit a community together while promoting healthy living.
With obesity and diabetes at an all time high in New York City, there needs to be a solution that will attack the problem in a holistic way. Active-designed environments and buildings have proved to be a solution to this problem, as evidenced in the HIgh Line, the Madison Square Plazas, and the new buffered bike lanes around the city.
The Active Design Guidelines are based on years of research by the city government, and one of the major insights that they gained were that the active-designed spaces are more successful when the local community is involved in maintaining the space. For example, the Department of Transportation, who initiated the project, partnered with the Flatiron Business Improvement District who in turn maintains the Madison Square Plazas. The BID partners with other organizations staffed by community stakeholders who have an incentive to maintain their own community.
Designing for improving people's health can improve the community's health as well.
Edit: I have attached a report on the active design elements of the Madison Square Plazas that I needed to submit as an assignment in my graduate program. I have also added the link to the