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Design For Health

DFH on Flickr

Design for Health’s photo collection on flickr has been expanding recently. Check out the photos through the tag cloud at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/designforhealth/tags/.

This is a picture of the image cloud–go to the URL above to find the actual clickable tags.

Design for Health on Flickr: Sets and Collections

 

Cyclist: Photo by Ann Forsyth

The Design for Health photostream now has hundreds of photos organized into “sets” such as “pedestrians” or “markets” and collections such as “Landscape”. Hundreds more photos will be added in the coming month. Check it out at http://www.flickr.com/photos/designforhealth/

Design for Health on Flickr

 

Urban Agriculture in Beihai, China. Photo by Ann Forsyth.
Design for Health now has a Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/designforhealth/. It will eventually contain all the images now available in the DFH web site under image resources: http://designforhealth.net/resources/imageresources.html. However, we will gradually add others from around the world. Most images are by Ann Forsyth except where noted specifically (for example some are from Kevin Krizek).

Research Summaries: Some Links

For practitioners interested in integrating health research into planning and design, the task can be daunting. There are many articles that touch on the topic of the connection between people, health, and place but with varying levels of relevance, research quality, and cost (and many can be quite expensive to those who don’t have university library subscriptions). Into the gap have come a number of organizations creating practice-oriented research summaries.

What’s in a Name?

 

Plan available directly from the
City of Bloomington
Recently, I was looking at the Pew Health Impact Project web site and noticed a featured HIA: the Xcel Energy Corridor: http://www.healthimpactproject.org/resources#reports
This is an excerpt from a plan featured on the Design for Health web site (one of the 19 Minnesota communities in Phase 1 of the project). On Design for Health site it is listed under the place name (Bloomington) and plan name (Alternative Transportation Plan) at http://www.designforhealth.net/cases/bloomington.html

Whatever the name it’s great to have these examples featured in multiple places.

Food Resources

 

Food stall in Stockholm. Photo: Ann Forsyth

How people get access to healthy food is a concern to many. I’ve recently had some requests for information. Design for Health resources include an “issues sheet” with ideas for incorporating food into planning and a research summary. Links include a food security assessment, also featured on an earlier blog http://healthymetropolis.blogspot.com/2010/11/tools-food-security-assessments.html

The APA’s national healthy communities center has a food interest group is also a terrific resource as are its numerous publications on this issue: http://www.planning.org/nationalcenters/health/food.htm

Visuals: What Does a Rapid HIA Look Like?

This blog has dealt earlier with the logistics of doing an HIA but what does a workshop look like? One source is the Arden Hills Healthy City Planning Workshop Summary Report Appendices. This document contains images of each stage of the half-day workshop. Go to http://designforhealth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/cases/HIA_ArdenHills_Appendices_3June2010.pdf and look at pages 33-36. More information about the process is available at: http://designforhealth.net/cases/ardenhillsworkshop.html.

Images from Arden Hills workshop. Photos: Design for Health.

 

Tools: What is a Rapid HIA?

On the face of it Rapid HIAs are quick, but that’s not the whole story. A rapid HIA while faster than a full, environmental impact assessment-style HIA, still takes some time. It is also different to some other quick HIA types such as desktop screening or scoping exercises.

Students performing a practice health impact assessment
at the School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada
Fundamentally a rapid  HIA is an interactive workshop—taking half a day or a day–that brings together stakeholders to identify and assess health impacts. However, additional time is needed to engage stakeholders in identifying key concerns and interest groups, to prepare background docuemtns for the workshop, have participants read those docuemtns, and write up the results. The good news is that a lot of the background information is similar to typical analyses that are standard in many planning and public health processes. Background information on health is available from several sources. Examples of completed HIAs are online.
Several toolkits are also available.
Design for Health  has two versions. The most recent Rapid HIA toolkit was ublished in 2008 but will be updated over the coming year. It draws on a number of previous examples, including the famous Merseyside model.  In 2010 DFH conducted a rapid HIA, termed a Healthy City Planning Workshop. This took a more flexible approach than the 2008 toolkit and also adapted worksheets from a number of recent HIAs. The reports from the workshop include 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. This makes the report usable as a toolkit.
The Merseyside Guidelines for Health Impact Assessment (2001) published by the International Health IMPACT Assessment Consortium, is often cited as the most widely used HIA model in England. 

Human Impact Partners, Oakland provides several relevant tools including a number of guides and worksheets: http://www.humanimpact.org/hips-hia-tools-and-resources. Be sure to scroll down the page because a lot of the more interesting material is at the bottom.

Resources: Planning and Active Living

Active living, the idea that it’s good to build exercise into daily life, has been big news in planning for a while but I still get questions about how to incorporate active living into plans. A decade ago, when it was a fairly new idea, there was the hope that if we built places where people were more prone to do activities like travel walking, that they’d keep exercising as well, increase their total activity, and reduce weight. It turns out to be a bit more complicated than this as I noted in my blog on high density and overweight adolescents in China. Research is quite mixed in its findings—there’s a lot of variation in how people respond to environments. Programs, policies, prices, education, and attitudes all shape how people use environments. But as a bottom line it is useful to provide options for people to be active in different ways so that when they want to do so they can. 

So how can you help provide options? Several web sites provide case studies of communities have done this work.
Mexico City Cycle Day, 2011. Photo: Ann Forsyth
  • Active Living by Design has been around since 2001 and has a useful web site. The group has worked with a number of cities and countied and provides case studies linked to an onsite map: http://www.activelivingbydesign.org/communities.
  • The APA has a webinar with some practice examples: http://www.planning.org/nationalcenters/health/education/webinars/activecommunity.htm
  • Design for Health also highlights some alternative transportation plans including ones by Bloomongton and St. Louis Park. Some of the questions in the DFH Comprehensive Plan Review checklists also target active living—noted in a column: http://www.designforhealth.net/resources/checklists.html

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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