Partnering with communities and landscape architecture students to create safe exercise routes in rural Georgia
One goal of Healthier Together Georgia is to create areas in which it is safe and easy to be physically active, to help combat high obesity rates and chronic disease. Safe routes to everyday destinations that allow opportunities for physical activity are particularly difficult to find or create in rural communities. To help in solving this issue, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension partnered with community coalitions across five counties as well as the UGA College of Environment and Design.
The real-world learning opportunity for landscape architecture students found them developing a tool for identifying optimal routes for biking and walking in the five counties. Existing conditions were then overlayed via GIS software to locate opportunities and constraints for bike and pedestrian travel. Collaborations between the students, community coalition members and local Extension agents included making plans for future physical activity paths and parks.
The resulting plans so far have been used to build the Taliaferro County school garden, and to submit a grant to support building a public park in Fort Gaines, Georgia, downtown.