Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit

I am very happy today because a new “evidence-based resource to improve communication between planners, local government, and health [sector professionals]” is now publicly available. This toolkit was produced over the past two years by the Health Build Environment Alliance, a voluntary intersectoral network that provides leadership and action for healthier, more livable communities organized by the Provincial Health Services Authority.  I have excitedly witnessed the development process since I have been a member of the Alliance for the past three-years (first as a health sector representative of the Human Early Learning Partnership and now as a planning representative due to my employment transition to Golder Associates' Sustainable Communities Group). Please click the link below to download the full PDF Toolkit:

You may also click here download the complete dissemination package, that includes a 2-page research brief, a PowerPoint slideshow template, and a poster for an introductory webinar planned for April 30th, 2014.

According to the webinar poster, this "Toolkit is the first evidence-based and expert-informed resource that links planning principles to health outcomes and identifies the behavioural impacts (e.g., walking and transit use) and environmental impacts (e.g., noise and traffic safety) that contribute to those outcomes." be sure to register today to learn more.

Essentially, the toolkit provides a single, unifying framework focused on five themes of planning principals for creating a healthy built environment. These 21 principals may not be revolutionary to informed urban planners, but the key is this document is designed to build a shared vision and common language that is accessible to both the planning and health sector professionals.

In addition, the really revolutionary content is a comprehensive evidence review that connects each planning principal to specific outcomes and health impacts. Each linkage line is also coded to highlight the strength of the evidence that exists. I see this as a great opportunity for Planners to improve their focus on the health benefits of their work. For example, I cannot wait until someone asks me to highlight the health benefits of a protected bike lane and I can quote the item #2 below:

An single summary page is also included for each theme of planning principals - I hope all planners print these five sheets and keep them close at hand, particularly if they are planning to work in partnership with the health sector:

In closing, I also want to highlight the introductory PowerPoint slides describe the following core objectives:
  1. It’s a “conversation-starter”: Provides an organizing framework for presenting information and facilitating discussions between & within sector;
  2. Helps users apply health evidence: Provides consistent & clear messages to inform the development of other documents & support decision-making around health & the built environment; and
  3. Can identify where more research needed: Provides a roadmap for emerging and innovative evidence.
Please share this resource with your peers and feel free to post comments below if you  have any questions.