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For healthy communities in the Western Parkland City

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The Health Lens – Integrating Health and Wellbeing Indicators into the Built Environment

Integrating health and wellbeing indicators into built environment practice within the Western Parkland City

When people think about health and wellbeing, local neighbourhoods are not the first thing that come to mind for many people. Where people are born, where they live, learn, work, pray, play and age are critical to long term health outcomes.

In public health, these factors are referred to as the social determinants of health, or a Health Lens, and they provide shared interest for researchers, designers, developers, urban planners and government policy and planning.

The liveability of a place describes the intersection between both urban planning and public health with many of the features in a local environment influenced by planning decisions which in turn influence health and wellbeing of the community.

This includes whether people in a neighbourhood can:

  • safely walk or ride to local shops and services,
  • access public transport,
  • access public open space,
  • access fresh and affordable healthy food,
  • access social infrastructure like schools, childcare, playgrounds, health and social services, arts and culture, sport and recreation services, and
  • access to affordable and diverse types of housing.

A Health Lens in Practice – The Parks Councils Webinar Case Studies

How we plan and build our cities has enormous influence on health and wellbeing.

Creating coherent and consistent urban policy that promotes health, wellbeing, liveability and sustainability requires effective partnerships and collaboration between and within all three levels of government, and with the private and community sectors (Rayner & Howlett, 2009; Holden, 2012)

Webinars are a good example of this partnership and collaboration, where sharing of information and the promotion of integrated planning can be highlighted.

More effective and consistent use of health and wellbeing indicators is essential to promote the creation of healthy, liveable and sustainable places.