Noise Mapping England is a terrific online resource providing highly localized noise mapping for a number of English cities. Noise sources include raid, rail, industry, and air and users can create separate maps for day and night.
For more information about health and noise see the noise section of the Design for Health web site.
The American Planning Association recently released a report, Healthy Planning, evaluating 22 comprehensive and sustainability plans in terms of health issues. Funded by the CDC this report looks at 22 plan documents. As the APA’s web site web site states: “The evaluation assessed the extent to which these plans addressed public health through six broad health-related planning topics:
- Active Living
- Emergency Preparedness
- Environmental Exposures
- Food and Nutrition
- Health and Human Services
- Social Cohesion and Mental Health”
Its an interesting report downloadable at http://www.planning.org/research/publichealth/pdf/evaluationreport.pdf. Anna Ricklin, the current manager of APA’s Planning and Community Health Research Center led the team creating the report. The plans were selected from a 2012 survey that had identified 890 plans using mentioning public health and 45 additional plans identified by the CDC. Plans were selected because they covered a wide range of health topics and also geographical diversity (urban, rural, county, city, etc). The report doesn’t present evaluations of individual plans but examines how many of the plans covered particular topics and issues. It does, however, identify lists of top plan e.g. for active living top jurisdictions included Baltimore County, Washington, DC, and Fort Worth and for food and nutrition the top places where Alachua County (FL), the Oneida Nation, and Baltimore County. A next phase of the project will look in greater depth at some specific case studies.
A number of my Cornell students worked on the report with APA (acknowledged on page 4).
The USDA Economic Research Service’s Food Environment Atlas and Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America provide a wealth of data on health issues and determinants (causes). Boasting an easy-to use interface the Food Environment Atlas deals with a very wide range of issues including grocery store access, restaurant expenditures, food assistance, food insecurity, food prices, local foods, health and physical activity information (e.g. obesity, fitness facilities), and socioeconomic characteristics. There is online documentation and data can be downloaded in Excel format.
The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America adds even more information about people, jobs, the character of agricultural production, and levels of urbanization. Again documentation is available and data can be downloaded.
The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium is a national-level federally-funded University Transportation Center. One of their three research themes is healthy communities. To find out about their different projects go to the search page, at http://otrec.us/research/browse, type in “health” and click on “filter projects. Projects range from a focus on air quality to pedestrian infrastructure and homelessness.
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.|
Those giving presentations mentioning HIAs are often looking for good visuals to go in the presentations. The Design for Health web site now has a list of visually interesting HIAs at http://www.designforhealth.net/resources/hiaexamples.html#vih (compiled by Inna Kitaychik). Some have photos but many have maps, plans, graphs, and charts.
The WHO Healthy Cities Program has been around since the mid-1980s and but is not as well known in the United States as it perhaps should be. The program is focused on “health development through a process of political commitment, institutional change, capacity-building, partnership-based planning and innovative projects” (http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-do/health-topics/environment-and-health/urban-health/activities/healthy-cities). Healthy city activities typically focus on fostering collaborations and partnerships to promote health with a refreshing mix of interventions—policies, programs, and plans. Activities that won Healthy Cities Awards in recent years include schools that promote urban health, injury and violence prevention activities, best practices in public toilets, and healthy urban transportation (http://www.alliance-healthycities.com/htmls/awards/index_awards.html).
The WHO European office has a useful healthy cities checklist that shows the wide range of topics of interest to the program from ecosystem health and public participation to diversity and economic vitality. You can read the whole list at http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-do/health-topics/environment-and-health/urban-health/activities/healthy-cities/who-european-healthy-cities-network/what-is-a-healthy-city/healthy-city-checklist.
|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/
|Urban Agriculture in Beihai, China. Photo by Ann Forsyth.|
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.
- InformeDesign summarizes many articles, and has an easy search interface, which is very helpful: http://www.informedesign.org/Default.aspx. To find syntheses that evaluate the balance of evidence one needs to go to other sources.
- UCLA HIA-CLIC has some helpful summaries of research organized by sector (e.g transportation) and pathway (e.g air quality) http://www.hiaguide.org/sectors-and-causal-pathways. Not every issues has information—a number are forthcoming—but it’s generally a helpful site.
- Design for Health’s research summaries are now 3 or 4 years old: http://designforhealth.net/resources/researchsummaries.html. This is more of a problem in the area of physical activity and food—where there has been a lot of recent research—than in the other topics where there are fewer new studies. For those wanting to get updated research there are larger topical pages listing other resources: http://designforhealth.net/resources/generalhealthissues.html and a list of web sites by topic is available at .