Our built environments include features that support health and features that can create barriers to it. Staff and students developed curricular materials and worked with elementary students to help them read these features in their own communities.
Healthy Activities Partnership Program for Youth (HAPPY)
From 2010-2012, the Environmental Design Lab was part of a UW-Madison multidisciplinary study team that partnered with the United Community Center’s Bruce Guadalupe Community School in Milwaukee to assess the community’s social and environment determinants of health and obesity.
The pilot study led to HAPPY II, funded through a grant from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Wisconsin Partnership Program. From 2013-2016, HAPPY II was a school intervention that included enhanced nutrition and physical education along with built environment curricula that aimed to increase self-efficacy for healthy food and physical activity choices among Latinx middle school students.
As part of this work, we developed a companion curriculum to help students learn to recognize and read features in their built environments that support or create barriers to human health and wellness. Students photographed examples of supports and barriers to healthy eating and movement in their community, and annotated the photographs with text to describe their images.
Watch a video about HAPPY here. See photos from our time with HAPPY below.
Obesity Prevention Initiative (OPI)
From 2014 to 2019, the EDL was part of a UW-Madison multi-disciplinary initiative with the goal of impacting childhood obesity across Wisconsin through policy, systems, and environmental change (PSE). This included piloting community interventions in Marathon and Menominee counties. We helped develop a menu of PSE interventions for communities and supported interventions related to the built environment, including giving a participatory workshop on tactical urbanism for Marathon county stakeholders. You can learn more about OPI here.