The Population & Public health team collaborates with diverse partners in order to support the inclusion of health considerations within community planning, design and engagement processes.
The provincial government and health authorities provide health services, local health data, and support collaborations with provincial and local partners and host First Nations to promote healthy living and community well-being.
Local government representatives (eg, land use planners, social planners, elected officials), community based organizations, researchers and resident members of the public also have important and unique roles to play in supporting health-promoting environments.
Together we can build healthy and vibrant communities that empower citizens to achieve their best physical and mental health.
The phrase "built environment" refers to the human-made or modified physical surroundings in which people live, work, and play. These include our homes, schools, workplaces, public spaces like parks and recreational areas as well as broader service networks such as our transportation and food systems. The concept of “built environments” can refer to areas of varying scope such as a large-scale urban plan or a site specific development.
We can think of healthy built environments as a holistic concept including the five core planning realms below. This conceptual framework is described further in the Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit:
- Neighbourhood Design
- Transportation Systems
- Natural Environments
- Food Systems
How neighbourhoods are planned and built has a direct impact on the physical, mental, and social health of its residents. These population health impacts can be described through indicators such as level of social cohesion, mental and physical fitness, chronic disease, healthy weights, and injury rates, For example, making active transportation convenient and safe has been shown to increase physical activity, which is in turn linked to decreased unintentional injuries, improved mental health, social connectivity and healthy weights.