4100 Redwood Rd #406
Oakland, CA 94619

Designing Healthy Communities

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Economy: Consumption
Environment: Climate Change, Environmental Activism, Pollution, Renewable Energy
Health: Disease/treatment, Nutrition/Malnutrition
Human Development: Agriculture, Children, Food, Land, Population, Poverty, Shelter & Housing, Social Exclusion, Transport, Urban, Volunteering, Youth
Politics: Activism, Civil Society, Governance

Project Geography

US: National
International: North America


Raised to date: $1,600,000.00
Estimate to complete: $600,000.00
Total Estimated Budget: $2,200,000.00
The budget numbers above are accurate as of 07/30/2010


Post Production

Media Type


Project End Use


Key Personnel

Harry Wiland
Principal & Founder
Co-CEO of Media Policy Center (MPC), Harry has produced public television and multimedia for over 30 years. In 1994-1997, he was CEO of Leonardo Internet. With business partner, Dale Bell, Harry founded MPC and developed its media model in 2002. In 2006 Harry was elected an Ashoka Lifetime and Purpose Prize Fellow. Harry and Dale are winners of the CA Greenworks Environmental Leaders Award. Together, they co-produced and directed Growing Greener Schools that aired on PBS Earth Day Week in 2010. They are currently working on a multi-part series, Designing Healthy Communities with Dr. Richard Jackson. Harry has been a director member of the Directors Guild of America since 1981 and in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences since 2003.

Dale Bell
Principal & Founder
Co-CEO of Media Policy Center (MPC), Dale has worked in the theatre, public television and multimedia for 53 years. A producer of the Academy Award-winning film Woodstock (1970), he executive produced Kennedy Center Tonight, Previn and the Pittsburgh, and WonderWorks, while supervising National Geographic Specials. With Harry, he founded Media Policy Center and its media model. Since their initial project, And Thou Shalt Honor, Dale has become a national spokesman for eldercare. He has been a director member of the Directors Guild of America since 1974 and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences since 1977. In 2006, he became an Ashoka and Purpose Prize Lifetime Fellow.

Beverly Baroff
Staff Producer/WGA Writer/Editor at Media Policy Center for nearly 10 years, Beverly is currently a producer/writer/editor for the PBS series Designing Healthy Cities.  Past Media Policy Center credits include producer/writer/editor for Growing Greener SchoolsEdens Lost & Found and And Thou Shalt Honor. Beverly is also a veteran documentary filmmaker and feature film writer. Her many credits include co-director/writer/co-editor for the IMAX film Race The Wind, producer/director for the A&E ballet Special, Pavane for a Dead Princess, and producer/editor for the PBS special Kennedy Center Tonight: Stravinsky's Firebird as performed by Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Outreach/Engagement Plan(s)

Our advisors on this project led us to people and organizations concerned with public health and the built environment, enabling us to not only create a richly informative series, but also to cultivate a vast database of outreach partners. What began with Dr. Richard Jackson has grown to a list of 6,500 people who are passionate about improving the health of our communities. Associations represented have a combined reach well into the millions.
Retaining the rights to our work allows us to repurpose it for many different uses: footage will be re-crafted into targeted, topic-specific short videos pushed out to at least 20 major video content sites through various distribution services and also embedded in topical stories posted to our online Designing Healthy Communities Magazine. We will work through our outreach partners and social media outlets to promote all aspects of the project.
Our content is designed to be a basis for discussion and debate, to grow and empower a network of concerned citizens.


Gifford Foundation$100,000.0005/13/2010
Kellogg Foundation$150,000.0001/06/2010
Kaiser Foundation$75,000.0011/06/2008
Cal Endowment$501,845.0009/24/2008
Kresge Foundation$500,000.0009/18/2008
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation$50,000.0005/19/2008
Marisla Foundation$75,000.0012/20/2007
American Institute of Architects$150,000.0010/10/2007


2932 Wilshire Blvd
Ste. 203
Santa Monica, CA, 90403

Short Synopsis

Designing Healthy Communities is the latest multimedia project from Media Policy Center.  This multi-hour series for PBS focuses on how by improving the design of our built environment we can address many of the nation’s devastating childhood and adult health concerns.


Designing Healthy Communities is a multimedia project that highlights people and communities trying to balance health and nature with work, play, and life, and offers best practice solutions for all citizens.  Stories and methodologies explored in Designing Healthy Communities point the way toward a healthy and sustainable future.

The host of our series is Dr. Richard Jackson, pediatrician, former CDC head of environmental science, top public health official in California, and current UCLA Department Chair and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health.  We met Dr. Jackson at one of the more than 150 lectures and papers he delivers annually.

Dr. Jackson's message is compelling: over the past half century, the built environment has contributed to the alarming fact that almost two thirds of our population is overweight, suffering from diabetes, heart, asthma, depression and other chronic diseases.  If we look upstream at the causes--obeisance to the automobile, lack of public transportation, parks, sidewalks, bike paths, multi-use housing, and community sense of well-being--we discover that the built environment threatens our future generations.

Dr. Jackson believes that improving the design of our communities holds the potential for addressing many of the nation’s current childhood and adult health concerns.  Awareness, prevention, education, and community outreach on a national and local level can reduce the healthcare burden that now consumes almost a third of our national GDP.  In cities, suburbs and rural areas across the country, community activists, politicians, socially responsible businesses and ordinary citizens are coming together to make their lives better by designing and retrofitting the places where they live.

We invited Dr. Jackson to reach an audience in the millions, through public television and other component media dissemination, so that his important message could have a more immediate effect.

We have raised over $1.6 million on the premise that we would create a two hour special. 
But filmmaking is organic; it generates a life of its own. Stories from Detroit, Atlanta, Charleston SC, Roseto PA, Prairie Crossing IL, Chicago, Syracuse, Belmar and Englewood CO, Richmond, Oakland, and Riverside, CA, deserve to be seen in depth.  We are now in the process of editing a longer, more comprehensive version of 4-5 hours that we are submitting to PBS for broadcast in 1st or 2nd Q 2011.

Our Media Builds Communities. Founded in 2002, Media Policy Center (MPC) produces innovative film for public television as well as print and multimedia that address important issues in social welfare, public policy, education, healthcare and the environment.  Our goal is to inform, challenge and ultimately engage a responsive citizenry. Our integrated Media Model was honored by Ashoka; Principals Harry Wiland and Dale Bell are Ashoka and Purpose Prize Fellows. Collective production awards include the Academy Award (Woodstock), five Emmys, a Peabody, and two Christophers, amidst other nominations and awards.

Currently we seek wider support to complete components for Designing Healthy Communities through our Ashoka-honored Media Model.  They include the finished series, interactive website, academic course curricula for high school and university, PBS companion book, community outreach, coalition building through community action guides, symposia, and eventually locally-focused town hall meetings televised through PBS stations to still wider audiences.

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