Health is influenced by the way that communities are planned and built, as well as by the services and resources available within them. Health equity requires that all community members – including low income residents, children, seniors, newcomers, Indigenous people, and people with physical and mental health issues – have access to those features of the built environment that support health and wellness.
This evidence review
examines how health equity is influenced by the built environment, and how built environment interventions can support or undermine health equity. The evidence is organized according to the five physical features of the built environment as outlined in the Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit
. The evidence shows that low socioeconomic status is associated with increased environmental health risks from air pollution, excessive heat, lack of access to green space, as well as a lack of access to safe transportation options and other public amenities. However, features of the built environment that increase access to green space, public services and amenities, and support social cohesion can positively influence health independent of socioeconomic status.
This Fact Sheet
offers evidence-informed principals to support health equity through interventions in the built environment. It is designed to be a companion to the Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit
and provides concrete actions that local governments can take to support health equity through the built environment. It may be used by health professionals who work with local governments, or by planners and local government officials looking for ways to build healthier, more equitable communities.