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Design For Health

Decibel Meters for Smart Phones

High noise levels are an irritation and, at very high levels, a health hazard. Several new applications allow smart phone owners to turn their phone into a sound meter.  A number are reviewed at healthyhearing.com.

For more about the connections between noise and health see the noise section of the Design for Health web site.

Traffic in Stockholm

Noise Mapping England

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.

Noise map of part of Manchester. For the legend navigate to the site.

Global Health Data from the WHO

For those interested in the broad situation of health and place globally, the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory is a useful resource. The observatory includes data repository, reports, and a useful map gallery. Maps, using data at the country scale, cover a wide range of topics from average cholesterol and avian influenza to health expenditure. These are clear maps at a similar scale and a terrific resource.

WHO Maps

Mapping Rural Health: The USDA Economic Research Service’s Online Maps

Food AtlasThe 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.

American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Research Center

APA

APA’s Planning and Community Health Research Center

For those interested in how to connect health and urban planning, the APAs Planning and Community Health Research Center is a good place to start. Resources include links to a number of health-related interest groups, links to educational programs, and a useful listing of APA’s health-related publications. A companion resource is the Planning and University Research Registry (PURR) where researchers can list projects both in progress and completed. A number are related to health and planning.

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.

UN Habitat Reports on Health

UN Habitat produces and distributes a large number of reports, many related to health with numerous publications on water infrastructure, social inclusion, disaster management, housing issues, and climate change. Although you can buy printed reports that isn’t always necessary as many can be found for free.

Hidden Cities: Unmasking and Overcoming Health Inequities in Urban Settings (2010), produced in collaboration with the World Health Organization, provides a good overview of the history and current situation in terms of cities and health. Topics cange across the natural and build environment, social and conomic issues, food secutiy, health services, and general urban governange http://www.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=3049
Diagram from Hidden Cities
Collection of Municipal Solid Waste , Key issues for Decision-makers in Developing Countries (2011) grapples with an important problem in public health. Written in a very accessible style it answers practical questions about how too extend solid waste collection to a wider population. http://www.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=3231
A Global Assessment on Women’t Safety (2008) focuses on tools for enhancing safety including public education, adviacey, participatory approaches, and changing public spaces. It’s part of a series of reports on this topic http://www.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=2848

Planning for Healthy Places with Health Impact Assessments

 

A screenshot of the online slide show
A few years back the American Planning Association in association with the National Association of County and City Health Officials created the online course Planning for Healthy Places with Health Impact Assessments at http://advance.captus.com/planning/hia2/home.aspx. Don’t be put off by the initial survey that you have to fill in to get into the site—it’s short and you don’t need to be an APA member to access it! Sponsored by the Centers for Disease control and Prevention the initial course was developed by Rajiv Bhatia, Laura Biazzo, MPH, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Brian Cole, Andrew Dannenberg, Carrie Fesperman, and Candace Rutt.


With Christine Green
from APA and Nisha Bochwey from the University of Virginia I’ve worked to update the program (without changing the voiceover except for one short additional module!)—Christine is the maven of resources and Nisha did a stellar job on quizzes. There are a lot of new examples. The computer generated voice is a bit weird but the content is a good introduction to HIA—and thanks to the CDC it’s free.

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

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