Good health begins in the places where we live, learn, work and play. Although medical care is critically important, things like the quality of our schools, affordability and stability of our housing, access to good jobs with fair pay, and the safety of our neighborhoods can keep us healthy in the first place. (Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, 2015).
Public health and urban planning are quite interconnected where the urban environment clearly influences the health and wellbeing of individuals. At the beginning of the 20th Century, we learned how a series of issues including industrialization, lack of sanitation, rapid urbanization, inadequate water supplies and waste collection, high levels of pollution and lack of control measures, and inadequate housing for the poor could cause the spread of disease and unhealthy environments. Our understanding of how planning can affect health outcomes has grown to include health impacts such as obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Transportation does more than just move us around. Transportation is a critical factor that influences people’s health and the health of a community. Investment in sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, public transit, and other infrastructure that supports physical activity can result in improvements to individuals’ health and decreased health care costs.
Health in All Policies (HiAP) is an approach to planning whereby decisionmakers consider how plans and policies will impact human health. Health in All Policies is a collaborative way to connect and integrate health considerations in policies or system practice.
Key HiAP principles include promoting health, equity and sustainability; supporting inter-sectoral collaboration; benefiting multiple partners; engaging stakeholders; and creating structural or procedural change. The Department of Health – Hillsborough County with the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Planning Commission staffs have developed a Transportation and Health Indicators Matrix which highlights agency cross-sectoral alignments.
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