Built Environment Toolkit


About this Toolkit
The Harris County Public Health HIA Toolkit, developed by the Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Built Environment and Health Impact Assessment (BE-HIA) Unit, aims to serve as a guide for organizations in the Texas Gulf Coast region looking to gain knowledge and understanding of Health Impact Assessment (HIA). It outlines key regional and national resources for conducting HIA, especially in the built environment context. Additional Health in All Policies (HiAP) resources are also included in this toolkit.

Public health practitioners, public officials, community-based organizations, urban or environmental planners, and advocacy groups – all may find the HIA process to be an impactful method of bringing a health lens to decisions concerning plans or new developments. With health equity as a key value of HIA and community engagement a cornerstone, the process works to bring populations most adversely affected by changes to our built environment to the forefront. To learn more about health equity and the work HCPH is doing, visit the Health Equity Page.

Using this Toolkit
This guide is broken into four main sections:

  • Health Impact Assessment and Health in All Policies
  • HIA Case Studies
  • Methods, Tools, and Resources
  • National and Regional Data Sources

Would you like to promote health in your community? 
You can partner with the  BE-HIA Unit! 

Our team can provide technical expertise and guidance on initiating HIAs or rapid health impact review processes. 

Please contact us for more information: builtenvironment@hcphes.org
Click each section below to see a brief description and additional information on these topics:

Health Impact Assessment and Health in All Policies

This section includes additional information about Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and Health in All Policy (HiAP) approaches that work to bring health to the table during the decision making process.

Find out more about:

Methods, Tools, and Resources

This section provides information on methods and tools that may be useful to HIA practitioners during each step of HIA. Please note: Many of these methods and tools may also be useful outside of the context of HIA.

For more details, please click on a topic below.

National and Regional Data Resources

Click here to find out more about national and regional data resources.

The file contains the following information related to the various datasets:

  • Source and website for the data
  • Variables measured
  • Example indicators
  • Geographical extent
  • Years available
  • Frequency of data collection
  • How to obtain the dataset

Other Resources
This toolkit focuses on providing resources and tools that are applicable to the Texas Gulf Coast region. There are many other resources and clearing houses for researching completed HIAs both nationally and internationally as well as a number of other HIA toolkits available online for additional guidance, such as the following:

Recommended Citation
Health Impact Assessment Regional Toolkit. Harris County Public Health, Environmental Public Health Division, Built Environment & Health Impact Assessment Unit. Released May 2016. Page last updated May 2016. 

Funding Statement
This project was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, with funding from the Episcopal Health Foundation. 


1. Adapted from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, September 19). Health Impact Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/hia.htm

2. Adapted from: Public Health Institute. (2013). Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Government. Retrieved from http://www.phi.org/resources/?resource=hiapguide