Monday, January 2, 2012

Healthy Urban Planning The Concept, Tools, and Application

by Lauri Andress

This paper examines the connections between population health and urban planning to develop a healthy urban planning framework that rests upon five concepts. 1 The report captures the critical thinking, significant theories, and key ideas on each of these concepts.

Social determinants of health
Sustainable development
Civic deliberation
Health in all policies

What follows next is a description of three assessment tools aimed at highlighting the connections between health, community, and socioeconomic conditions. These tools were developed in an effort to demonstrate the linkages between health and society as expressed in a social determinants of health framework. In this case, each assessment, to varying degrees, explicates the associations between a geographic locale, the population’s health status, and the socioeconomic and planning and design characteristics of that locale.
Eleven key factors based on the interests of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Center to Eliminate Health Disparities are used to analyze the three tools. The essential elements of each assessment tool are captured in Table 1, which demonstrates the utility of the tools.
Finally, a set of recommendations on how to apply a healthy urban development model to a local, post disaster site in the United States is presented. The report recommends that any plan of action must first originate from an understanding of the locale’s sociopolitical landscape.
In this case, because of a heightened interest, activity, and conflict around post disaster redevelopment (housing and economic development), the primary recommendations are the following:
1. The effort should not select specific development projects to assess at this time.
2. The primary framing of the effort should be centred on enhanced urban design, planning, and development standards to support economic development and tourism, walkability, physical activity of all kinds, and better streetscapes.
3. Goals of improved neighborhoods endowed with affordable, mixed-income housing, enhanced green space, parks, and access to goods and services should be incorporated but remain secondary.
4. The effort should proceed through and in cooperation with the City government.
5. Representatives from the City government and other stakeholders and key decision makers (as recommended by the City government) should be informed about the effort using a one-to-one meeting process. When completed, individuals/organizations from the one-to-one meetings should be merged into a larger group.
6. The primary method to steer the effort should be the assessment tools and subsequent reports. Components taken from all of the tools should be used based on agreement by the larger group.
7. Later reports from the assessments should be accompanied by proposed city resolutions expressing support for healthy urban development principles.
8. Consequent ordinances should be introduced under the advisement of the City and with the support of the larger group.

more about sustainable urban planning:

European urban development: Sustainability and the role of housing

A house with no furnace? You betcha

Sustainability on the Urban Scale: ‘Green Urbanism’

Living Cities: Collaboration is Key

How the Imagery of "Urbanized" Motivates Better Places

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