The Planning and Community Health Research Center advances plans and policies for improving the built environment to promote public health.

Planning and Community Health Research Center

Obesity. Food deserts. Accessibility. Transportation alternatives. The way a community is planned — its land development patterns, transportation options, or community design — bears heavily on the health of those living there. By working closely with policy makers, public health professionals, environmental health scientists, transportation engineers, educators, and other community members and experts, planners work to create healthier communities, eliminating adverse conditions and building better places for everyone to live, work, and play.

APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center is dedicated to integrating community health issues into local and regional planning practices by advancing a program of research, outreach, education, and policy.

Download the National Centers for Planning brochure (pdf)

Our work advances healthier policies and planning practices through:


Working with a global network of research fellows and partner institutions, APA conducts collaborative, multidisciplinary research aimed at addressing today's pressing health issues through city and regional planning.


Through a variety of institutional partnerships and outreach activities, APA increases awareness of health and planning issues.


Training and technical assistance for planners and allied professionals as well as guidance for the next generation of planning and public health officials are essential to educating a variety of stakeholders on how to create healthy, sustainable communities.


Local, state, and national public policy that affects our natural and built environments plays an important role in the creation of health-supportive communities.


From policy guides, reports and publications, to online courses and podcasts, APA has a variety of resources to assist planners and public health professionals in the integration of health into planning practice.

About APA

APA is the premier independent not-for-profit education and research organization devoted to urban, suburban, regional, and rural planning. Through serial publications, research monographs, online resources, and distance and face-to-face training, we reach frontline professionals and decision makers. With more than 40,000 members and established partnerships with numerous academic, nonprofit, and public institutions, APA is connected to the innovative thinking and the practical realities of the planning profession.

Contact Us

APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center has the expertise and influence to help planners, health professionals, and citizens create healthier communities, shaping better places for future generations.

To learn how APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center can help you or to discuss opportunities for research partnerships, contact APA at healthycommunities


April 28 Is Health Day at APA's National Planning Conference!

The 2014 National Planning Conference features Health Day as part of a 3-day Planning Healthy Communities symposium. This is an opportunity to learn about all matters related to planning and community health. Join us online or in person.

Register onsite at the Georgia World Congress Center

Can't attend? Then join the live webcast

Free Online Course

Planning for Healthy Places with Health Impact Assessments

CM │ 6.0

This course teaches the basics of conducting health impact assessments, offers examples of how planners can use HIA, and explains the value of HIA for the planning profession.

Developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Video: Is the Built Environment Making Us Sick?

Anna Ricklin, manager of APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center talks with Kelly Muellman and Eric Fladager, AICP, about the benefits of including public health objectives in comprehensive and sustainability plans.

Food Policy Councils Briefing Paper

In response to concerns about food deserts, obesity rates, agricultural lands loss, dwindling farmer population, and environmental problems, many places are forming food policy councils (FPCs).

Healthy Sustainable Food Systems Principles

The American Dietetic Association, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, and APA met to develop a set of shared food system principles.

Healthy Communities Interest Group

Are you interested in healthy, sustainable communities? The Planning and Community Health Research Center is forming a new coalition of APA members interested in the development of healthy, sustainable communities.

Planning for Food Access

APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center will identify and inventory comprehensive and sustainability plans with food access goals and policies.