Shaping Lifestyle While Building Community

Ever wish you didn’t have to worry about how you were going to work off that holiday dinner? People who include regular walking and biking into their lifestyle don’t—they’re burning off that bird on their way to work. Aside from launching an effort to rewrite your city’s zoning code to emphasize mixed-use development (although there’s nothing like a long-term goal), there are a lot of ways to incorporate more physical activity into you and your family’s daily routine. So as we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, here are a few fun ways to improve your health and your community.

Better bike laneBuild a Better Bike Lane

Have you been having a hard time trying to convince your city council to designate more bike lanes? The Copenhagenize Flow is a bike lane made of recycled plastic squares that snap together like Legos. They make it easy and inexpensive for communities to create separate bike lanes.

Walking school busOrganize a Walking School Bus

A walking school bus is like a carpool—without the car. A few families, a neighborhood, or a school district can create one, using parents or volunteers to lead children on a designated route to school. If your child’s school is a little farther away, how about creating a bike train? Both options will deliver your children safely to school with their turkey sandwiches tucked inside their backpacks.

walk a dogWalk a Dog

Let’s not forget our furry friends! Volunteering as a dog walker at an animal shelter or a rescue organization is a great way to burn off that holiday dinner, and feel good too. Many animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country have volunteer programs.

Neighborhood food trucksLet the Restaurants Come to You

You like the idea of walking down the street on a Friday night, but you live in a subdivision and aren’t planning to move in the next few weeks. What about organizing a food truck night? Organizations like Off the Grid will bring gourmet food vendors, music, and activities to your community creating an instant walkable destination for you and your neighbors. And while this idea might not be so appealing with a whole lot of snow on the ground, it’s a great way to celebrate once spring rolls around.

Community art projectTurn Your Community into a Winter Wonderland

Some of us—or rather some of you, since we live in Berkeley—spend most of the winter shoveling snow. Instead of blowing it out of your driveway and onto the sidewalk, what about turning it into a mini-mountain that neighborhood kids can play on or an attractive art installation—maybe you could invite out a food truck to serve hot chocolate and cider one Saturday afternoon too!

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