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In recent years, there has been a greatly increased interest in the impacts of the built environment on health and wellbeing. At present, spatial inequalities in regards to access to jobs, affordable housing, social services, and healthy food results in a greater burden of disease for particular social groups and in particular geographic areas. Many of the health problems in cities today, including obesity, violence, and depression, are linked to poor residential and recreational environments, lack of access to jobs and social services, and low social cohesion. Urban decision-makers like planners and designers influence physical, social, natural, cultural, and economic environments. They therefore have a key role in ‘planning health in’, rather than ‘planning health out’, of communities.
This subject will provide a local and international background into current policies and practices related to pursuing health and well-being objectives as a central part of urban planning work. It will cover: the influence of planning over key health determinants, international good practice, the current legislative framework, and Health Impact Assessment. A strong skills focus will ensure that planners, designers and other professionals are able to assess existing sites, plans, and policies from a health perspective.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, the students should be able to:
- Describe the changing nature of public health issues, and their relationship with the built environment;
- Understand variations in the needs of different social, economic, and cultural groups in ‘the public’, to which health planning interventions respond.
- Analyze a planning proposal and an existing site, using health assessment tools
- Describe and critically analyze the integration of Council Plans, Municipal Health and Wellbeing plans, and land use planning tools such as Precinct Structure Plans and Urban Design Frameworks, in local governments across Victoria
- Relate the concepts of healthy urban planning to current policy initiatives at the local, state, or national level.
- Written, verbal and visual communications
- Ability to analyse current policies in light of theory and evidence
- Ability to advocate for a position, based on understanding of policy, theory, and evidence
Last updated: 2 October 2021