Built Environment Toolkit


About the Toolkits

The Health Impact Toolkits, developed by the Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Built Environment (BE) Unit, aims to serve as a guide for organizations in the Texas Gulf Coast region looking to gain knowledge and understanding of Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) and Health Impact Reviews (HIRs). The toolkits outline key regional and national resources for conducting HIAs and HIRs especially in the built environment context. Additional Health in All Policy (HiAP) resources are also included.

Public health practitioners, public officials, community-based organizations, urban or environmental planners, and advocacy groups may find the HIA and HIR processes as impactful methods of bringing a health lens to decisions concerning plans or new developments. With health equity as a key value and community engagement a cornerstone, these processes work 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 the Toolkits
This guide is broken into five main sections:

  • Built Environment 101
  • Health Impact Assessment
  • Health Impact Review
  • Methods, Tools, and Resources
  • National and Regional Data Sources

Would you like to promote health in your community? 

You can partner with the  BE Unit 

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

Please contact us for more information: [email protected]

Click each section below to see a brief description and additional information on these topics:

Built Environment 101
This section includes additional information about the links between health and the built environment and approaches that are beneficial during the decision making process. Click here for more details on the following topics:
  • Healthy Community Design
  • Health and Equity
  • Health in All Policies
Health Impact Assessment

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:

Health Impact Review

This section includes additional information about Health Impact Reviews (HIR) and the rapid process used to assess potential impacts of proposals, policies, projects, or development plans. 

Find out more about:

PEW Charitable Trusts Health Note (Expedited Review for Policymakers)
Washington State Board of Health: Health Impact Reviews

Methods, Tools, and Resources

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

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 and HIRs 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 Unit. Released . Page last updated . 

Health Impact Review Toolkit. Harris County Public Health, Environmental Public Health Division, Built Environment Unit. Released September 2018. Released . Page last updated. 

Funding Statement
The HIA Toolkit 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. 

The HIR Toolkit was created internally by the BE Unit created based on the need for an expedited evidence-based process to assess health impact with limited time and resources. 


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