North Texas Health Forum Wrap-up

Posted: 15th May 2014

Watch the Video!

In his keynote address at the 2014 North Texas Health Forum, held during National Public Health Week April 10-11 at UNT Health Science Center, keynote speaker Dan Burden emphasized the connection between lifestyle, health and the built environment.

Burden, a nationally recognized authority on walkable, livable, healthy and sustainable communities, healthy streets, active transportation and healthy lifestyle programs, is Co-Founder and Director of Innovation and Inspiration of the non-profit Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.  In 2001, TIME magazine named Burden as one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.

Burden has traveled the world for 35 years to make it a healthier place. He has been called one of the Top 100 Urban Thinkers of all time by Planetizen, a public-interest information exchange for urban planning, design and development, and he is credited with personally helping 3,500 communities around the world become more livable and walkable. 

Sharing visuals from his extensive travels to illustrate the built environment challenges of both North Texas and other U.S. communities, Burden presented the need for more walkable cities, describing walking as “the first thing an infant wants to do and the last thing an older person wants to give up.” He challenged the audience to consider whether our cities today build “places for people or places for cars.” With the audience, he developed a profile of an ideal healthy community, with parks; sidewalks; aesthetics like flowers, trees and lighting; clusters of places to walk, eat, shop, play, worship, relax and engage with others; design that attracts children and provides safety; and a renewed focus on “people.”

The program’s second day featured an interactive morning where participants learned about the local Blue Zones Initiative for a healthier Fort Worth and participated in small group workshops to make community recommendations on the effort. 

2014 represents the seventh year that the UNT Health Science Center School of Public Health has presented the North Texas Health Forum educational conference series, designed to bring national speakers and public health experts together with students, faculty, researchers, local leaders, legislators, business and the general community, to help lead the way toward positive change in the health and wellness of the North Texas community. The event is free of charge.

Sponsors included Texas Health Resources; The Greater Fort Worth Real Estate Council; Freese and Nichols; and the University of Texas at Arlington Schools of Architecture, Social Work and Urban and Public Affairs. Promotional Partners were AIA Fort Worth, A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects; Midwest Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association; the Texas Society of Professional Engineers; and Urban Land Institute North Texas. 

If you are with the media and need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact the Office of Marketing and Communications.