The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

April 15, 2014

Blue Zones kicks off in Osky

(Continued)

The Oskaloosa walking moais will be the first formed in Iowa, Buettner said.

“Obesity is a big problem in our country,” he said. Buettner said his team will offer evidence-based initiatives that cities can adopt to improve peoples’ lives.

Monday morning, Buettner’s colleague Dan Burden, co-founder of the Walkable and Liveable Communities Institute, took a group of local leaders on a walk around Oskaloosa’s downtown.

Burden said his organization has been around for four years.

“It was created to help bring about cultural change in how we design our communities,” he said. “We get the town engaged to bring about change.”

Burden said he was impressed with the pattern of buildings and streets in Oskaloosa. Burden also said he was impressed with how Oskaloosa has a circle of trails around it that brings people in close proximity to nature.

Burden said that young people tend to pick a community and then pick a company to work for in that community.

Communities need to invest in themselves to beautify themselves and provide activities.

“It takes a town willing to learn,” he said.

If people and businesses thrive in a community, that is the best way for a city to ensure people’s children and grandchildren will stay, Burden said.

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