Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Over the last 15 years, a growing body of Australian and international evidence has demonstrated that urban design attributes are associated with a range of health outcomes. For example, the location of employment, shops and services, provision of public and active transport infrastructure and access to open space and recreational opportunities are associated with chronic disease risk factors such as physical activity levels, access to healthy food, social connectedness, and air quality. Despite the growing knowledge base, this evidence is not being consistently translated into urban planning policy and practice in Australia. Low-density neighbourhoods with poor access to public transport, shops and services continue to be developed at a rapid rate in the sprawling outer suburbs of Australian cities. This paper provides an overview of the evidence of the association between the built environment and chronic diseases, highlighting progress and future challenges for health promotion. It argues that health promotion practitioners and researchers need to more closely engage with urban planning practitioners, policymakers and researchers to encourage the creation of healthy urban environments through integrated transport, land use and infrastructure planning. There is also a need for innovative research to evaluate the effectiveness of policy options. This would help evidence to be more effectively translated into policy and practice, making Australia a leader in planning healthy communities.

Over the last 15 years, a growing body of Australian and international evidence has demonstrated that urban design attributes are associated with a range of health outcomes. For example, the location of employment, shops and services, provision of public and active transport infrastructure and access to open space and recreational opportunities are associated with chronic disease risk factors such as physical activity levels, access to healthy food, social connectedness, and air quality. Despite the growing knowledge base, this evidence is not being consistently translated into urban planning policy and practice in Australia. Low-density neighbourhoods with poor access to public transport, shops and services continue to be developed at a rapid rate in the sprawling outer suburbs of Australian cities. This paper provides an overview of the evidence of the association between the built environment and chronic diseases, highlighting progress and future challenges for health promotion. It argues that health promotion practitioners and researchers need to more closely engage with urban planning practitioners, policymakers and researchers to encourage the creation of healthy urban environments through integrated transport, land use and infrastructure planning. There is also a need for innovative research to evaluate the effectiveness of policy options. This would help evidence to be more effectively translated into policy and practice, making Australia a leader in planning healthy communities.

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

Notes

Authors accepted manuscript.

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