Exploring Opportunities to Prevent Injury and Violence Through Zoning

Zoning Practice — December 2019

By Randal Henry


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Injury and violence are societal problems. Though unintentional injuries and acts of violence are the leading cause of death for all Americans aged one to 44, risk of injury and violence is clearly elevated for historically disadvantaged groups including children, the elderly, African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Indigenous Americans, Latino Americans, other social-ethnic minorities, people with lower incomes, and developmentally disabled persons.

This issue of Zoning Practice is intended to help planners and other zoning practitioners draft zoning laws and land-use policies that can prevent injury and violence. The following sections introduce a theoretical framework to enhance understanding of the social determinants of health and how zoning practices influence and are influenced by larger historical, social, and political factors; provide an overview of injury and violence in the United States; review empirical evidence supporting the use of zoning practices to prevent injury and violence; and present evidence-based recommendations for zoning practitioners.


Page Count
Date Published
Dec. 1, 2019
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Randal Henry
Dr. Randal Henry is the Founder/Chief Intelligence Officer of Community Intelligence, LLC. Community Intelligence is a social justice oriented research and evaluation consulting firm committed to increasing the capacity of communities, non-profits, foundations, healthcare organizations and government agencies to identify/ameliorate conditions that impact public health, mental health and community well-being. Dr. Henry holds a DrPH and MPH from UCLA and a BA from California State University Pomona. The Making Connections Network (i.e., MCN) - a current Community Intelligence project - has two objectives: (1) uplifting men/boys and women/girls of color; and, (2) elevating public health, mental health and wellbeing in communities of color - especially among young people. The primary goal is to reduce the impact of injury, violence and trauma on health and well-being in communities of color by developing strategies to address community violence. To identify opportunities to curtail community violence, the MCN project is examining the intersection of community violence and ZOLUPPE (i.e. zoning, ordinances, land use policies and practices and enforcement). Project goals are realized through information sharing, CBPR/action research, educational conferences, capacity building, collaboration/coalition development and networking. Here, we discuss the results of our efforts.