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Design For Health

How to Learn About the Basics of Healthy Community Planning

Linking health and planning requires learning about (at least) two areas. Public health folks are often confused about planning and planners have a lot to learn about health. There are a number of useful web sites and below I list just a few free guides that can lead you through the maze.

Healthy Urban Development Checklist
  • The Healthy Urban Development Checklist: A Guide for Health Services when Commenting on Development Policies, Plans and Proposals introduces public health folks to planning. Developed by the NSW Department of Health in Australia, it will be useful in many other locations. It takes a little while to load but once it’s on screen it provides a useful introduction to health issues and the planning system. It covers a typical range of issues including food, physical activity, housing, transport employment, community safety, open space, social infrastructure, social cohesion, environment, and specific development contexts such as infill.
  • Delivering Healthier Communities in London  was developed for the National Health Service London Healthy Development Unit in 2007. Also a bit slow to load, it is organized around key health issues–mental health, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, excessive heat and cold, and injuries. It links each of these the environmental factors.
  • The Design for Health web site comes from the other direction, aimed at informing planners about health. Its health impact assessment tools draw on research summaries and can feed into planning actions. Topics are rather similar to the Healthy Urban Development Checklist (above).

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