Group of dancers in grassy field at community event

Healthy Community

Nature Keeps Us Healthy!

The Open Space Authority supports healthy communities where people, wildlife, and plants can coexist and thrive. Natural lands and other open spaces help give us clean air, drinkable water, and fresh produce that keep our communities healthy and enhance the wellbeing of residents in Santa Clara Valley. 

Exercising outdoors and experiencing nature improves an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being by reducing stress and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Spending time in nature can improve digestion and lower the risk of serious illness like heart attack and diabetes. A 30-minute walk has been shown to reduce depression symptoms. Walking has also been shown to improve memory performance and attention spans.

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

Chef chopping vegetables at outdoor cooking demonstration
The Open Space Authority provides free family-friendly and healthy outdoor activities. We encourage residents to participate in our Healthy Parks, Healthy People programs, which provide safe and welcoming opportunities to get outside and incorporate fun activities into a regular routine. Our events provide great opportunities for families to spend time together outside, where participants can enjoy docent-led hikes, star-gazing, dance classes, and more!
The Authority partners with leading urban garden and farming organizations to provide increased access to produce in local neighborhoods and promote healthy eating for a balanced lifestyle. Veggielution, Valley Verde, and La Mesa Verde are transforming the way that families and communities in Santa Clara Valley and beyond think about food and nutrition, while nurturing social interactions and building strong, healthy communities.


The Open Space Authority works to protect and manage a network of open space lands that provide opportunities for nature-based recreation and education for all residents.

Learn more about Recreation and Education Resources in the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint.

Strategies include:

  1. Promoting healthy lifestyles through education, outreach, and improved access to parks, open spaces, trails, and local farms.
  2. Working with partners to identify, prioritize, and fund the acquisition and management of connected and accessible open space lands and trails.
  3. Expanding outreach and environmental education programs - through the Authority's own programs, as well as through the Measure Q Urban Open Space and Environmental Education Grant Programs - to share the value of open space and natural resources with residents.
  4. Focusing outreach and environmental education programs in underserved communities, based on research reported in the Understanding Our Community report.