Creating Walkable Communities

What is a walkable community?

Heart&Stroke Walkabout recognizes that in order for people to feel safe and interested in walking, together we must create walkable communities. Walking isn’t just a great form of physical activity, it is the way we best experience communities in Nova Scotia.  A walkable community is one that is designed with the pedestrian in mind.

In a walkable community, we see people of all ages and abilities getting to school, work and activities on foot. We see friends, colleagues and families out for a stroll enjoying fresh air. We may be able to walk to get our groceries and do other errands. Sidewalks and trails connect residents and visitors to multiple destinations. Signage and lighting help people move about more confidently. Benches help create a social atmosphere and give walkers a place to rest. Aesthetics like lighting, shrubs, flowers and litter collection help make the walking experience pleasurable. Beautiful buildings and welcoming storefronts also help people feel more at ease. Crossing the street, we feel safe and respected by people driving vehicles. The community feels vibrant and connected.

Active, healthy community design strategies – such as good public transit, well-maintained parks, and safe, efficient walking and cycling networks – make it easier to get the physical activity we need for our health. Below are some resources to help you create more walkable communities in your area that are designed for walking and active transportation.

What is active transportation?

Active transportation is a growing movement across Canada and many parts of the world. Making our communities safer for walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation will improve the health and well-being of Nova Scotians and create sustainable and more livable communities.

Shaping Healthy, Active Communities

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Shaping Healthy, Active Communities toolkit helps you champion healthy changes within your community. These resources will help individuals and organizations who are interested in making their communities supportive of physical activity and active transportation through active, healthy community design.

Model Active Transportation Policy

Heart & Stroke Walkabout has developed a model active transportation policy for Nova Scotian municipalities and communities. It is a broad policy that has been developed so that it can be adapted to individual communities. This policy is based on Complete Streets and is designed so that roads are examined based on the needs of all groups (walkers, cars, public transportation).

Green Mobility Strategy

The Green Mobility Strategy from the Ecology Action Centre outlines a series of action steps needed to improve sustainable passenger transportation in Nova Scotia. This resource also helps decision-makers reach the province’s goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as set out in the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.


Walk 21 aims to respond to the growing demand for a partnership of the world’s policy makers, researchers and practitioners to:

  • Confirm the importance of walking issues at political and policy levels
  • Provide an international platform for an inclusive discussion
  • Acknowledge the research, practice and promotion undertaken so far and to highlight best practice
  • Identify the need for future research and opportunities for funding future networking


Active Living by Design is a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and was established to create and promote environments that make it safe and convenient for people to be more physically active. Active Living By Design offers a collection of downloadable tools, guides and how-to manuals that provide assistance to help create and support an active living environment.


Active Transportation 101 was developed through a partnership between the Ecology Action Centre and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. This new toolkit will help you in your efforts to bring active transportation (AT) to your community. The AT-101 encourages, celebrates, and builds upon what has already been accomplished in Nova Scotia through its examples, ideas, and suggestions. And for those communities/municipalities who have already done this work and are ready for an AT Plan, the resource will guide you through the next necessary steps