Chula Vista, CA:This pilot project integrated safety strategies, such as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), into efforts to improve the public's perception of safety in the west-side community of Chula Vista while simultaneously promoting physical activity, particularly in neighborhood parks and at trolley stations. Based on a needs assessment conducted by community members and youth, the Western Chula Vista Preventing Violence-Healthy Eating and Active Living Report (PV-HEAL Report) provided recommendations for improvements to various city government departments. The report included photos vividly demonstrating the need for action to address safety. This project inspired the Redevelopment Agency to support the Chula Vista Utility Box Program, which engaged youth in beautifying neglected and vandalized utility boxes. The boxes were painted by youth with art that is culturally reflective of their community. The Metropolitan Transit System plans to implement some of the report recommendations into the rebuilding of the "Blue Line" transit system by 2014. Lastly, the Public Works Department adopted report suggestions for construction guidelines for all new parks. Recommendations included increased lighting, culturally appropriate designs, trimming bushes to provide more openness in public spaces, and reducing vandalism and graffiti.


Community team:

  • Cambios con Fe
  • Chula Vista Police Department
  • Chula Vista residents and youth
  • Community Health Improvement Partners
  • Environmental Health Coalition
  • Health & Human Services Agency - South Region
  • Institute for Public Strategies, Inc.
  • Network for a Healthy California
  • Walk San Diego
  • Youth

In early 2010, a team of community advocates in western Chula Vista began work as part of a pilot program to Prevent Violence and Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living (PV-HEAL). The community partnership focused on efforts to influence infrastructure and landscaping improvements to improve the health and safety for all residents in western Chula Vista. Their PV-HEAL project inspired the Chula Vista Utility Box Program, which engaged youth in beautifying previously neglected and vandalized utility boxes with art that is culturally reflective of the community. Boxes beautified in early 2011 have remained unaffected by graffiti and tagging. Also, the areas where the project was focused have seen a reduction in violent activity. This is just one example of increased community capacity and engagement in Western Chula Vista to create safe public spaces for physical activity.