From obesity to increasing rates of diabetes and heart disease, to the tragic implications of toxic stress, cities face overwhelming challenges to help people live healthier lives. Cities are also grappling with how to design safer, more inclusive streets for everyone. We need solutions to all of these problems and more, and they must have an immediate impact on our greatest community asset – kids. As the future of our country, kids need many things to succeed, including safe streets where they are able to play. But what does designing for kids look like?


In this session, participants will learn how everyday interventions – including the application of public art to inspire movement and physical activity like walking – can help to create safer, more inclusive streets while simultaneously impacting public health outcomes. In this way, art even in uncommon spaces has the potential to become a far-reaching force for good, physically transforming neighborhoods but also contributing to true community transformation. Art then does more than beautify public spaces, but serves as a resonant means to healthy living, safer curbsides, and diverse cultural interchange.

With over 80% of kids living in urban areas, they have fewer ways of playing, interacting, and being healthy. These interventions ensure that kids have access to play and are able to achieve healthy outcomes along the way. Because in order to build truly equitable, sustainable communities of the future, we must also plan and design for the kids of our neighborhoods. This session will focus on the value of creating safe, inclusive neighborhoods for kids through art and play with healthy outcomes.



  • Marisa Jones, Healthy Communities Manager (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

  • Stephanie McCullough, Director of Community Engagement (Mayor Barry's Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement)

  • Mike Bulger, Healthy Communities Coordinator (Common Ground Health)

  • Jen DeMelo, Director of Programs and Operations (KaBOOM!)

    • ​​Tuesday, April 3 (1:45pm - 3:15pm)


Painting a Different Picture for Public Health

© 2018 Smart Growth America | National Complete Streets Coalition

Nashville Music City Center

201 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203