Integrating Planning and Public Health: Tools and Strategies to Create Healthy Places

PAS Report 539/540

By Marya Morris, FAICP

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Is the form of American cities to blame for the shape of Americans? With obesity rates climbing ever higher, planners are reconsidering how the built environment affects public health — not only obesity, but also asthma, cardiovascular disease, water quality, air pollution, pedestrian safety, and mental health.

Integrating Planning and Public Health examines collaborations between planners and public health professionals committed to building healthy communities. It outlines the five strategic points of intervention at which planners and public health professionals can coordinate their efforts: visioning and goal setting, plans and planning, implementation tools, site design and development, and public facility siting and capital spending.

Case studies illustrate the specific tools — including health impact assessments — used in such collaborations. The report also examines the role of universal design in creating healthy communities.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Oct. 1, 2006
Adobe PDF
APA Planning Advisory Service

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Planning and Public Health Reunited: Exploring Shared Objectives and Opportunities for Collaboration
Selected Survey Results

Chapter 2. Five Strategic Points of Intervention and Collaboration Between Planning and Public Health
The First Point of Intervention: Visioning and Goal Setting
The Second Point of Intervention: Plans and Planning
The Third Point of Intervention: Implementation Tools
The Fourth Point of Intervention: Site Design and Development
The Fifth Point of Intervention: Public Facility Siting and Capital Spending

Chapter 3. Issues in Public Health: Where Planning Plays a Role
Surface and Drinking Water Quality
Air Quality
Obesity and Inactivity
Pedestrian Safety
Hazardous Waste Sites and Transported Materials
Mental Health

Chapter 4. Universal Design: Community Design, Public Health, and People with Disabilities
Common Historical Background and Legal Underpinnings
Assessment Tools and Data Sources
Universal Design in Planning
Summary and Conclusions

Chapter 5. Tools for Planning and Public Health Collaboration
Tool 1: Ideas for Launching and Maintaining a Planning/Public Health Partnership
Tool 2: Action Planning Worksheets for Planning and Public Health

Chapter 6. Health Impact Assessment

Chapter 7. Case Studies of Successful Planning and Public Health Collaboration
Ingham County, Michigan
Tri-County Health Department, Colorado
Hennepin County, Minnesota
Delaware County, Ohio

Afterword: The Future of Environmental Health and Planning: Some Thoughts Based on the Florida Experience
By Daniel Parker

Appendix A. Reducing Disparities Through a Focus on Communities
Appendix B. A Glossary of Basic Planning and Public Health Terms
Appendix C. Alternate Action Planning Tool
Appendix D. Excerpts From APA’s Policy Guide on Smart Growth That Address Public Health
Appendix E. Summary of Proceedings of a Symposium on Land Use and Health: Fostering Collaboration Between Planners and Public Environmental Health Officials

List of References