Where people live has as much influence on their health as how they live.
The built environment includes the settings where we live, work, learn, and play. Buildings, streets, parks, agricultural lands, road systems, land use patterns, and density are features that affect a person’s ability to make healthy choices and reduce their risk of injury and exposure to health hazards.
The built environment can affect:
- level of physical activity
- ease of access to healthy food
- aging in place
- safety of travel
- air and water quality
- access to jobs and services
- social interaction
- mental well-being
- opportunities for recreation
Healthy Public Policy
Healthy public policy recognizes that policies outside of the health sector, and in all levels of government, have a deep impact on health. This is because these other sectors have an enormous impact on the social determinants of health and their distribution within society.
In Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, municipal leaders are well-positioned to make policies, plans, and by-laws that positively affect health. Decisions that are made today about community design, transportation systems, housing, access to recreation, and availability of legal substances contribute to the health of communities now and in the future.
Health in All Policies
Health in All Policies (HiAP) is an approach used to advance healthy public policy, “where health becomes systemized as a standard part of the policy-formation process, and agencies are driven to integrate the policy formation under a health lens” (World Health Organization).
HiAP enables governments to make policies that address their priorities while simultaneously supporting the well-being of residents. Through an HiAP approach, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health and local municipal stakeholders can work toward a shared goal of improving population health in HPEC and reducing health inequities among residents. Collaboration between municipalities and public health can help to maximize budgets and proactively address rising demands in health care and social services.
Working With Municipalities
To promote healthy living environments, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health works with municipalities and community organizations to create community settings that support health.
Public Health engages with municipalities to:
- Provide information about the well-being of residents
- Build capacity in healthy public policy through education and facilitation
- Help define how HiAP can fit within municipal processes
- Provide a health lens to municipal policies by commenting on policy documents such as official plans and plan updates
Municipal Official Plans play an important role in designing communities in a way that promotes and protects the health of residents and visitors. The Building Complete and Sustainable Communities: Healthy Policies for Official Plans provides healthy public policy recommendations to municipalities when reviewing their official plans.
- The Public Health and Planning 101
- Healthy Rural Communities Toolkit: A Guide for Rural Municipalities
- Building Complete and Sustainable Communities: Health Policies for Active Transportation
- Complete and Sustainable Communities Make it Easy for People to Walk, Bike and Roll
- Ontario Professional Planners Institute – Healthy and Sustainable Communities