Blue Zones Project organizers are touring the Cedar Valley - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Blue Zones Project organizers are touring the Cedar Valley

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

International health experts are in the Cedar Valley learning as much as they can about the current state of Cedar Falls and Waterloo. It's the latest measure in the Blue Zones Project.

"That's the exciting part," said Amber Wasendorf. "We don't know, exactly, what we're going to learn from them. But we do know we're going to get a lot of guidance from them."

The author of the Blue Zones Project Dan Buettner, and Dan Burden, the Executive Director of the "Walkable and Liveable Communities Institute", are spending the next day in Cedar Falls and Waterloo.

"How do we make it so everybody could just naturally go out and walk or bike and get to socialize and get to know their neighbors?" said Burden.  "First thing I'm looking for is people. If I see young children, older adults, and I see them in a reasonable abundance, I know the place is already working."

In addition to learning what's working, they're looking to see where each community can grow.

Burden said an example of where the community can improve is University Avenue. He explained, it's a road designed for cars, not people, and that's something the cities can change.

"A street like University, for example, we went by row after row after row where all we saw was the back of garages. We didn't get to see windows, you didn't feel watched over. And so we know, at some point, your code got turned around," said Burden.

The pair will return in the fall with their recommendations. Until then, the newly formed Blue Zones teams in both communities are working to get everyone on board.

"There are a lot of people right now that are on board, and I'm just ready to get Waterloo fired up about the Blue Zones Project and taking on the challenge," said Sherman Wise from the Waterloo Blue Zones Committee.

A reminder -- Cedar Falls and Waterloo need twenty percent of the population to take the Blue Zones pledge. If you have not taken the pledge yet, click here.

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