Guidance and tools supporting healthier urban environments


National Planning Policy Framework: The revised framework, updated in December 2023, setting out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

PHE Health Places: This guidance, updated February 2021, provides an overview of work by the Healthy Places team.

Homes England Building Healthy Places: Guidance on construction management processes, design, building safety and infrastructure, modern methods of construction, and safe and custom build.

Active Design. Sport England, 2015: How the design of our environments can help people to lead more physically active and healthy lives.

Shaping Neighbourhods for Local Health and Global Sustainability (2021): Updated book with strengthen guidance in relation to climate change and biodiversity.

Making Healthy Places. Designing and Building for Health, Wellbeing and Sustainability (2011): This book demonstrates that the built environment directly affects public health.

The Routledge Handbook of Planning for Health and Well-being: Shaping a sustainable and healthy future (2015): This handbook integrates health into planning, strengthening the hands of those who argue and plan for healthy environments. With contributions from international leaders in the field it provides context, philosophy, research, processes, and tools of experienced practitioners through case studies from four continents.

The Health Gap. Improving Health in an Unequal World (2016): Michael Marmot on reducing health inequalities using evidence from around the world.

Building a Legacy. A landowner’s guide to popular development. Prince’s Foundation, 2016.

Spotlight on Development: The Value of Placemaking. Savills, October 2016: Early spending in infrastructure, local amenities and public spaces creates better places. This report examines why it pays to take the long view and partnership approach.

Green Infrastructure Framework – Principles and Standards for England. Guidance from Natural England.

Building with Nature. Standards and expertise for high quality green infrastructure

New towns guidance

Healthy New Towns: Learning from the NHS England ‘Healthy New Towns programme’ which used 10 demonstrator sites across England to explore how the development of new places could create healthier and connected communities with integrated and high-quality services.

What makes an eco-town? A report from BioRegional and CABE inspired by the eco-towns challenge panel.

Garden City Standards for the 21st Century: Practical Guides for Creating Successful New Communities: The TCPA has produced a suite of guidance outlining practical steps for all those interested in making 21st-century Garden Cities a reality. Guidance provides detail and case studies on a wide range of key issues, including planning, investment, land assembly, delivery, and long-term stewardship.

Health Impact Assessments (HIA) guidance

Health Impact Assessment in Spatial Planning: guide for local authority public health and planning teams

Wales HIA Support Unit, Health Impact Assessment (HIA) guidance: a resource to those currently practicing HIA, policy makers and those who are new to the process and who are looking for information and evidence.

Transport guidance

Cycle infrastructure design (LTN 1/20): Guidance for local authorities on designing high-quality, safe cycle infrastructure.


Health Impact Assessment Tools: simple tools for recording the results of an HIA.

HEAT for walking and cycling: a tool from the World Health Organisation to estimate the health and economic impacts of increased walking and cycling.

Food environment assessment tool (Feat): allows detailed exploration of the geography of food retail access across England, Scotland and Wales from the University of Cambridge.

Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT): provides an evidence base to inform cycling investment in England and Wales.

World Health Organisation Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool

WHO Health Impact Assessment Tools and Methods: how to undertake an HIA.

Place Standard Design Version: A complementary addition to the original Place Standard tool.

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