As blogs have proliferated some have begun to deal with health and places. Below I list a sampling of the range of such sites, many dealing with health issues as part of a larger interest in topics such as urban development or housing. They are in alphabetical order.
|From State of the Planet blog
Healthy Cities (http://healthyurbanplanning.blogspot.com/) is the blog of Jason Corburn, a faculty member at Berkeley. It focuses on highlighting resources such as reports and statistics and has an international flavor.
) is maintained by Robert Neuwirth. Neuwirth is journalist and author of Shadow Cities
, a 2006 book based on a total of two years of living in four different squatter settlements. My undergraduate students find it a compelling read. Neuwirth’s blog deals with a wide range of issues about urban settlements.
State of the Planet (http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu) is a compilation of blogs from the Earth Institute at Columbia University. It is by far the most elaborate in this list with fancy graphics, multiple contributors, and obviously represents a lot of staff time. It has a useful keyword search.
Walk Score, the blog
) builds off the popularity of the walkscore tool. In the main web site an automated calculation based on destinations such as shops. As an expert on pedestrian planning I think this is oversimplified but the tool itself is fun and the blog is a mix of example results and tips about using the scoring (e.g. how to customize scores).
Other web resources about health and places are available at: http://designforhealth.net/blogs-about-health-and-places/
(Photo by Ann Forsyth)
Focusing on gardens and other landscapes, with a particular emphasis on gardens in healthcare settings, the web site of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network is a well-designed and maintained resource. I have found the following sections to be particularly helpful:
The evidence-based design section at http://www.healinglandscapes.org/ resources-ebd.html includes online searchable databases, books, and articles.
A section on art and health http://www.healinglandscapes.org/related-art-health.html [no longer available] provides a succinct overview of important resources.
For further reading, the Design for Health web site deals with planting and mental health at: http://www.designforhealth.net/resources/mentalhealthissue.html
>This UCLA clearinghouse has been a terrific resource for some time but has recently updated its web site: http://www.HIAGuide.org.
Particularly useful are its:
Still under construction is is useful already but promises to be an even richer resource.
The Rapid Health Impact Assessment—the kind of HIA that takes the form of a structured workshop with substantial preparation and reporting—boasts a number of detailed manuals, such as the classic by Erica Ison: http://www.apho.org.uk/resource/item.aspx?RID=44890.
|Arden Hills Healthy City Planning Workshop
Photo: Ann Forsyth
However, moving beyond such general guidance it can be hard to find out how others have conducted their HIAs. Some people provide extensive background reports but not much about what actually happened at the workshops. Others focus on the outcomes of the HIA and not the inputs and process. An increasing number of practitioners are, however, reporting on HIAs in straightforward ways that provide transferrable tools for others. This entry highlights several of these, all containing useful examples of worksheets, maps, and recommendation checklists or tables.
- The London Olympics HIA, completed in 2004 is an example of a health impact assessment conducted on a major employment and housing development. Prepared by consultant for the London Health Commission and the London Development Agency, the HIA had two parts: a desktop assessment using many existing reports and a workshop with 21 key participants (including advocates, government representatives, academic and academics). The HIA looked at construction, operation, and post games time periods and the consultant produced a 155 page report, available online: http://www.apho.org.uk/resource/view.aspx?RID=61057. This comprehensive report contains substantial background information, results from exercises in the workshop including some interesting voting activities, and clear recommendations.
- The Lowry Corridor HIA of 2007, while an internally conduced assessment rather than a true participatory HIA, is a terrific resource. Focusing on the redevelopment of a major road in Minneapolis, the report contains several well thought-out worksheets and a number of interesting maps: http://www.apho.org.uk/resource/item.aspx?RID=60512. It is a very accessible document.
- Commerce City, Derby Redevelopment Area HIA is also not a traditional rapid HIA but it is included here for its imaginative use of participation and analysis tools. These range from computer mapping and proposals for street redesign to photos taken by residents and stills from a video produced by local high school students. Located in a lower income, majority Latino area of suburban Denver the HIA was conducted by the Tri-County Health Department who in turn employed short-term consultants on special topics. With a focus on physical activity and nutrition, recommendations from the 65- page report (http://www.tchd.org/pdfs/hia_final.pdf) fed into a master plan.
- The Arden Hills Healthy City Planning Workshop of 2010 assessed options for reusing a military facility in a suburb of the Twin Cities. The state Department of Health sponsored this HIA collaborated with the City of Arden Hills, hiring a consultant to actually conduct it (Design for Health). This is one of the very few HIA reports that includes basically all the information used to run and report on the HIA workshop–the actual information packet provided to participants in advance; the agenda of the meeting, copies of handouts, worksheets, and presentations from the workshops; a series of photos keyed to parts of the agenda; and the workshop’s summary report. The summary report and appendices, along with a description of the workshop, are online: http://designforhealth.net/cases/arden-hills-2010-workshop/.
- More information about HIA in general can be found at http://designforhealth.net/hia/.
With a focus on international development, health, and globalization, Gapminder shows what it is possible for Swedish statisticans to to do with flash animations and time on their hands on long cold nights. You can see founder, Hans Rosling, in action on video and then try it yourself with online and downloadable animations. His most famous video is at now a few years old but gives a good sense of how to use the tool. You might want to check out what he said at the U.S State Department in Washington DC last year and it is instructive to compare with a presentation for an Indian audience: http://www.gapminder.org/videos/hans-rosling-asias-rise-ted-india/.
While data are provided by country, one of the data sets is the percent urban population making it possible to see the relationships between urbanization and many health and environmental indicators. Several tools allow comparison of regions and states within countries for example, comparing countries with Chinese provinces and U.S. states: http://www.gapminder.org/labs/
Gapminder makes the important point that more wealth does not always lead to better health.
>How health impact assessment can make a difference is an issue of some interest at present. For those wanting to explore HIA online, several major clearinghouses provide a wealth of information from legislative updates to workbooks.
For more information about HIA go to the Design for Health web site at http://www.designforhealth.net/ resources/healthimpact.html.