Health and the Built Environment

September 12, 2017

There are factors beyond the traditional determinants of health (e.g., genetics and health care) that affect our health. Among the non-traditional determinants, planners are particularly interested in the influence of social and physical/built environment on health.

This presentation discussed the connections between urban planning and public health, and focused on the dynamic relationships between health and its determinants. It explored questions such as: How does access to healthy food and parks affect obesity? Does the built environment change behavior enough to influence health?

Quantitative and spatial analytical techniques used to analyze these questions were discussed. The presentation also discussed the policy implications of such research, with particular emphasis on social equity. By identifying major determinants of obesity, the findings provided an evidence base for directing future planning policy decisions and implementation strategies.

CM | 1.0

PDF of PowerPoint presentation (pdf)


Sagar Shah, PhD

Sagar Shah is a research associate at the American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center. He holds a doctoral degree in regional development planning from the University of Cincinnati with a focus on healthy urban planning. Shah is currently involved in applied research projects at APA, connecting urban planning and public health. Previously he worked on the CDC-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work program, where he contributed his planning expertise and worked closely with the local health department and community partners. His research interest includes investigating the complex relationship between built environment and health through the lens of social equity.