How are the built environment and health connected?
The built environment impacts the health of the public by creating spaces that either promote or prevent good health and well-being (Design for Health, 2017).
The built environment can...
- Influence rates of physical activity through community design efforts like planning for sidewalks.
- Impact levels of fruit and vegetable consumption through development.
- Limit human exposure to air pollutants through land use planning.
Public health experts are working with planners, developers, engineers, and transportation authorities, among others to intentionally design communities in ways that advance health equity, prevent disease, and improve overall health (NACCHO, 2017).
What is equity?
Harris County Public Health (HCPH) defines health equity as a state in which every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of socioeconomic or environmental conditions. One example would be providing individuals with a bicycle that meets their needs rather than providing the same bike to everyone.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation