Urban Design Projects take Center Stage at Blue Zone Conference.

The upcoming Blue Zones conference will focus on improving urban design projects in Grays Harbor County. The initiative aims to create a healthy built environment that encourages movement through the use of walkable and bike paths and access to parks. Blue Zones is a company that seeks to bring principles and lifestyles from the world’s longest-lived communities to other places. They have identified nine characteristics related to diet, social life, physical activity, and access to the outdoors. Mercy McInnery, founder of a Portland-based urban design firm and a member of the American Institute of Architects, will give a presentation and answer public questions during the community meeting at the Hokiam Timberland Library on May 16th.

After being launched earlier this year, the project is in the revitalization phase, with leaders gathering information from the public and seeking funding through grants. The local leadership consists of Chris Fry and a steering committee made up of health officials and government officials. Fry stated that the goal of the upcoming meeting was to determine which potential projects would have the greatest impact on Grays Harbor.

Blue Zone’s Activate is the second phase of the initiative to transform Grays Harbor into a Blue Zones community. The first phase will begin in 2021, with Summit Pacific Medical Center leading the effort to develop an initial community assessment that will ultimately lead to the launch of Blue Zone Grays Harbor. An action plan for Grays Harbor is expected to be completed by November, Fry said.

Overall, the Blue Zones initiative aims to create a healthier environment in Grays Harbor County by incorporating principles and lifestyles from some of the world’s longest-lived communities. Through the use of initiatives such as urban design projects and access to parks and walkable paths, the initiative hopes to create a healthier and more active community. For more information, contact reporter Clayton Franke at 406-552-3917 or clayton.franke@thedailyworld.com.

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