Community Design Indicators and Neighbourhood Population Health

This infographic summarizes my Major Research Project (MRP) completed for the Master of Planning in Urban Development program at Ryerson University. I am happy to be finished my degree requirements now, and I am looking forward to getting back to my professional career. Please email me at Anth42[at] if you know of any job opportunities that may align with my passion for creating healthy communities.

You can download my entire MRP by clicking on the cover page below:

OBJECTIVE – Healthy community design is an emerging paradigm that unites the fields of urban planning and public health. Many studies have evaluated Community Design Indicators (CDIs) related to land use, transportation, housing, food and natural areas and many of these studies have also linked CDIs to harmful or protective physical, mental and social health impacts. However, most studies focus on a small number of design indicators and many rely on proprietary datasets. Alternatively, this study calculates a comprehensive set of CDIs using open data sets and links results to a wide range of health measures.

METHODS – A literature review of CDI calculation methods and associated health impacts was conducted to create a comprehensive CDI framework. Each design indicator was then calculated using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for 106 neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver, Canada. Correlations were also evaluated between CDIs and both built environment and health measures from the My Health My Community (MHMC) survey.

RESULTS – The CDI framework was validated based on several strong correlations between objective CDIs and subjective built environment measures from the MHMC survey. Additionally, several CDIs were found to have moderate correlations with one or more health measures. In particular, there were many associations between CDIs and rates of utilitarian walking and levels of obesity.

DISCUSSION – This study has four implications for professional practice related to supporting evidence-based stakeholder engagement and decision-making, informing performance-based planning and design, measuring economic and environmental performance, and inspiring intersectoral healthy community design visions and action-oriented implementation strategies.

Also, here is my 3-minute thesis speech about this project just in case you are interested in a quick introduction: