Integrating Health Into the Comprehensive Planning Process

An Analysis of Seven Case Studies and Recommendations for Change

By Anna Ricklin, AICP, Nicholas Kushner, AICP

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The issues facing cities and counties, and their neighborhoods and communities, continue to change and become more complex and, at the same time, bring the planning profession back to its roots in promoting public health. As planning has shifted toward sustainability, public health has been identified as a core element of communities that thrive, so cities have begun to integrate health into their comprehensive plans. In addition, the sustainability plan, a new cast of plan that takes a holistic view of natural systems and the human activities affecting them, seems well suited to focus on public health as key component of its policies.

Today, as public health concerns increasingly center on chronic disease and safety, specialists and city planners realize they cannot afford to operate in isolation any longer. Decisions that leaders have made regarding land use, urban design, and transportation have impacted local air quality, water quality and supply, traffic safety, physical activity, and exposure to contaminated industrial sites (i.e., brownfields). These decisions are linked to some of the most intractable public health problems, including adult and childhood obesity, inactivity, cancer, respiratory problems, and environmental justice.


Details

Page Count
64
Date Published
Nov. 1, 2013
Format
Adobe PDF
Publisher
None

About the Authors

Anna Ricklin, AICP
Anna Ricklin, AICP is a passionate advocate for healthy communities and is the first Health in All Policies Manager for the Fairfax County. In that role, she acts as a health ambassador across county agencies, promoting the integration of public health objectives into county plans, policies, and building projects. Formerly, Anna oversaw applied research and place-based initiatives to advance healthy planning practice at the American Planning Association, and began her career at the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. Anna has a background in health impact assessment, active transportation planning, and cross-sector collaboration, as well as recent work establishing metrics for healthy planning. Anna holds a Master of Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lives in Falls Church, VA.

Nicholas Kushner, AICP
Nick Kushner, AICP Community Planner Department of Parks and Recreation Government of the District of Columbia Nick joined the DC Department of Parks and Recreation in June, 2017. He is the senior long-range planner in the Capital Projects, Planning, and Design Division and is currently focused on developing a new master plan for the agency. Nick has worked previously with the DC Department of Energy and Environment working on the city’s sustainability plan, Sustainable DC. He has also spent time with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services where he helped write the final Age-Friendly DC Strategic Plan, which is part of the World Health Organization's network of Age-Friendly Communities. In this role, Nick was invited to the WHO Headquarters in Geneva to represent DC in a global pilot project to test age-friendly indicators. Nick has also worked with the DC Office of Planning on the early stages of the city's comprehensive plan amendment cycle and public engagement. Prior to joining DC Government, previous work experience includes researching comprehensive plans and public health at the American Planning Association and refugee resettlement and assistance work in the DC region and eastern Africa. Nick has a dual Master’s degree from Virginia Tech in Urban and Regional Planning and Public and International Affairs and a Bachelors’ degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction
Planning and Public Health
Role of the American Planning Association

Project Purpose and Background
Purpose
Project Background

Methods
Plan Selection
Map showing seven jurisdictions studied in this report
Outreach and Interviews

Findings and Analysis
Introduction
Champions
Context and Timing
Outreach
Health Priorities
Data
Collaboration
Funding
Implementation
Monitoring and Evaluation
Conclusion: Strengths and Areas for Improvement
Strengths
Areas for Improvement

Recommendations and Action Steps
Champions
Context and Timing
Outreach
Health Priorities
Data
Collaboration
Funding
Implementation
Monitoring and Evaluation
Public Health in Planning Process Model

Appendices

Appendix 1. Community Profiles: Case Studies of the Seven
Jurisdictions
Appendix 2. The Plans
Comprehensive Plans
Sustainability Plan

REFERENCES