Planning and Community Health Research Center


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.

Current Projects

Growing Food Connections

The Planning and Community Health Research Center is partnering with the University at Buffalo on a new project building local government capacity to alleviate food deserts in underserved communities.

Planning for Public Health

With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Planning and Community Health Research Center is conducting a multi-year research study to identify, evaluate and analyze the plan-making processes and the health goals, objectives and policies of local comprehensive plans developed and adopted by communities across the U.S.

Past Projects

Planning for Food Access

With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Planning and Community Health Research Center is in the process of identifying, inventorying, and evaluating comprehensive and sustainability plans that explicitly address community-based food systems and food access goals and policies.

Arts, Culture & Creativity

The Planning and Community Health Research Center has developed a series of briefing papers to illustrate how planners use arts and culture strategies to achieve economic, social, environmental, and community goals.

Creating Community-Based Brownfields Redevelopment Strategies

The Center was the recipient of a Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The result of this three-year initiative, which involved community development corporation (CDC) leaders, community members, and others working to revitalize low-income and disadvantaged communities, is Creating Community-Based Brownfield Redevelopment Strategies, a guide to redeveloping brownfield sites.

Family Friendly Communities

The Planning and Community Health Research Center worked with the Linking Economic Development and Child Care Project to engage planners in thinking critically about what makes a family friendly community, what's currently being done, and what opportunities are there to create more friendly communities.

Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy, Sustainable Places

With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Center worked collaboratively with MetroAg: the Alliance for Urban Agriculture and the Center for Resilient Cities on the development of a Planning Advisory Service Report on the role of planning practice in developing and sustainable urban agriculture to support economic, social, and environmental goals.

Bridging the Gap

The Planning and Community Health Research Center is working with a team of researchers to develop research criteria and indicators to analyze planning policy and its impact on the diet and physical activity habits of youth.

Complete Streets

APA partnered with the National Complete Streets Coalition to prepare a best practices manual on complete streets which was published as a PAS Report in early 2010.

Planning and Designing the Physically Active Community

In the last decade, the paradigm of smart growth has prompted many communities to improve the physical design of downtowns and neighborhoods.

Healthy Communities through Collaboration

In 2003, a partnership between APA and the National Association of County and City Health Officials began to restore the bridges among land-use planning, community design, and public health practice.