Physical inactivity is a major public health problem. While individual (eg, attitudes, values, beliefs) and social (eg, social support) factors play a role, access to an activity-safe local environment can have a significant influence. Environments that include accessible opportunities for physical activity, a component of livability, require cooperation from many sectors including nonprofit, government, educational, and for profit.
This study used a mixed-methods network mapping approach to evaluate a multisector network focused on increasing the livability of St Louis, Missouri.
Eighteen network members participated in in-depth interviews about their livability partners.
The participants identified 86 unique partners in the region, with a majority representing nonprofit and government organizations and fewer from the education and for-profit sectors. Participants trusted 88% of their partners and felt that 83% of partners shared their mission and vision. Trust and shared mission and vision varied across organization types. Specifically, 89% of nonprofit partners were thought to share a mission/vision and 87% were trusted. Participants felt that 87% of government partners shared their mission/vision and 91% were trusted. Participants shared mission/vision with 75% and trusted 75% of educational partners. Finally, 44% of for-profit partners were thought to share mission/vision and 100% were trusted. For-profit partners also had more positive influence than others, while government partners had the highest average negative influence. Finally, while most relationships were mutual, relationships with for-profit partners were mostly one-directional, with for-profit partners sending resources to other network members.
Livability efforts in St Louis might benefit from recruiting additional for-profit partners that provide the network with new perspectives and needed resources, and from cultivating positive partnerships with government organizations that can assist with local policy development and enforcement.