Top 10 of 2018: A year in review Feb 13th, 2019
Across the province, 2018 proved to be a year full of learning, action and connection. British Columbian communities continued to advocate for important matters in the places where they live, work and play. Issues such as healthy housing, disaster relief and First Nations reconciliation were top of mind, and close to the hearts of local governments, elected officials, community members and supporting organizations. For our team at BC Healthy Communities, reflecting on the year’s past efforts and achievements is part of an important, skill-building practice. It honours the hard-work of communities and highlights the new connections that have been made throughout our province. In honour of this, we're bringing back at our top read and shared articles of 2018. Enjoy!
- City of Vernon's journies towards becoming a Child and Youth Friendly Community
In February, we celebrated the City of Vernon's ongoing commitment to supporting children and youth. Partnering with the Island Health Authority and several other local and academic organizations, the city used momentum from their 2014 Cities Fit For Children Summit to activate several policies and projects for youth. There are many more community success stories over on our PlanH program's Community Stories page.
- Spelling it out: Healthy Communities work represented one letter at a time
Together with the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition (OHCC), we created the A to Z of Healthy Communities. Launching in March, the alphabet kicked off with an introduction to Asset-Based Community Development. The journey through the alphabetized world of Healthy Communities is still going strong over at BC Healthy Communities’ Blog.
- Pleased to make your acquaintance! Meeting the people behind the planning
March was also a month of meetings; specifically, readers began to meet our mosaic of team members (including our canine companions!). Sarah Ravlic and her dog Yogi debuted their superpowers on our blog initially, but now you can get to know the whole team and how they came to healthy communities work.
- Community Belonging 2.0: Social Connectedness Guide gets an upgrade
Earlier this year, our PlanH Social Connectedness Action Guide for local governments received an update. Current research into policies, programs, and planning strategies provided communities with new tools, so they could continue to intertwine public spaces with social connectedness.
Bonus! We followed up with communities who had launched a variety of programs that bolstered social connectedness, such as Tofino's Bridging Our Youth program, Nanaimo's Come to the Table initiative and social connections made in Dease River First Nation.
- Three brand new granting opportunities created to support BC communities
The Creating Healthy Places Grant, Community Wellness Strategy Grant, and Health and Wellness Grant for Indigenous Communities from our PlanH program provided funding and tailored supports for BC communities. Currently, 34 communities are taking action to shape the linkage between their built environment, policies and future wellbeing—and we couldn't be more excited to showcase what they create!
- Welcome home: how to use planning to create safe housing for all
Healthy Housing took center stage in the province this year. Our team focused on applying an equity lens to Housing Needs Reports, and diligently worked to support communities to understand their current housing conditions and future opportunities for sustainable health. Our Healthy Community Planner Sarah Ravlic explained how an inclusive approach to Housing Needs Reports empower communities and their well-being.
- Toolkits that impact the blueprint for communities
One of the most exciting summer updates was the release of the updated Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit, courtesy of BCCDC Population & Public Health. Through a wide array of strong research, this toolkit showcases how intentional community design can help shift broader social determinants of health. Communities throughout British Columbia are using this tool to inform their planning principles and ability to address inequities.
Bonus! The proof is in the planning, as seen in August, when we highlighted the linkages between the built environment and mental health.
- Evaluation: The missing link between process and progress
In September, the research wing of our organization demonstrated the importance of measuring the impacts and outcomes of community development projects. We even presented our very own Healthy Communities Evaluation Framework at the 2018 International Healthy Cities Conference in Belfast, allowing for Healthy Communities worldwide to get that much stronger.
- The Active Communities Action Guide sprints into existence
This guide, courtesy of our PlanH program, offers ideas and resources for local governments to further develop opportunities for their communities to be active in daily life. It even includes information on the co-benefits of physical activity, actions and examples from BC communities, opportunities for funding, a list of other resources, and a summary checklist that local governments can use to evaluate their physical activity strategy and next steps forward.
Bonus! Throughout the year, our team had been bringing a conscious focus to rural and small community support. We revisited the important learnings harvested from the Province of BC’s Rural Development Engagement Summary. The What We Heard Report brought forward areas of common interest from participants around the province, including the ongoing need to prioritize local services such as transportation, water, social services, healthcare and recreation for small and rural communities.
- First live events brings province together for a conversation of equity and activity
And with that, BC Healthy Communities hosted a live event that explored Physical Activity For All: Tools and Approaches for Equity in Active Communities. Thanks to the generous assistance from Stream of Consciousness and their 2020 Vision Grant, this event brought together local government officials, planners and recreation programmers, as well as health authority staff and physical activity researchers. You can see the recorded livestream here!