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Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit

"Built environment" refers to the human-made or modified physical surroundings in which people live, work and play.

These places and spaces include our homes, communities, schools, workplaces, parks and recreation areas, business areas and transportation systems, and vary in size from large-scale urban areas to smaller rural developments. 

The toolkit

The HBE Linkages Toolkit describes how population health is influenced by the design of our neighbourhoods, housing, transportation systems, natural environments, and food systems. It brings together research based key messages that correlate land-use planning decisions, impacts on the built environment and population health. Health professionals and others working to assist local governments and provide well-informed and credible recommendations will find this resource useful to draw from.

The HBE linkages toolkit summary (PDF) document is a two-page overview of the:

  • Healthy built environments conceptual framework
  • Suite of planning principles which support healthier neighbourhood design, housing, transportation systems, natural environments and food systems

The full toolkit (PDF)document includes:

  • a description of common types of community plans
  • a series of fact sheets describing the suite of planning principles in more detail
  • a series of health evidence diagrams which illustrate the weight of research correlations between planning principles, impacts on the built environment and health outcomes
  • a description of practice considerations related to social well-being, economic co-benefits and small and medium sized communities
  • a glossary of terms

Also available in French: Full Toolkit - French language version (PDF)

The HBE Linkages Toolkit is intended to be a living synthesis of current research on healthy built environments. New research is reviewed, assessed and added to the toolkit every few years. Suggestions for new research articles to be included in the next review can be emailed to

See archived versions of the HBE Linkages Toolkit (PDF).

Evidence diagrams

A new interactive Healthy Built Environments Evidence Diagrams tool is in development.

This interactive tool will animate the health evidence diagrams contained in the full HBE Linkages Toolkit, allowing you to interact with evidence pathways and easily access source citations.  For example, users will be able to click on research pathways to learn more about the evidence and find key messages describing how specific health outcomes relate to community planning goals. 

Evidence Diagrams

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SOURCE: Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit ( )
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