Resources and support to integrate health into urban planning

Evidence connecting urban design with health

Public health data

Urban environment and health inequalities

Impact of the urban environment on health inequalities

Those that live in the ‘least healthy’ urban areas are often those who suffer the most inequalities (economic, health, etc.) – so improving the quality of urban spaces can help to reduce inequalities.

How urban planning decisions affect different groups in the population in different ways – an intervention/ change might improve health for some while having no impact or making health worse for others. So we can prioritise changes that seek to improve conditions specifically for those who live in the worst conditions (rather than/ as well as changes that improve conditions for everyone). 

Tools to address health inequalities

  • Health impact assessments and community health need assessments can be used for local health equity monitoring processes- helping to identify, understand, access, and measure inequities. e.g. WHO Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool – Urban HEART

Personal experiences of unhealthy places

Our films explore the impact of living in environments that are polluted and noisy, prone to developing mould, and without greenspace. Living in unhealthy places – TRUUD

Legal risks of not incorporating health

Work on the law, health and the environment produced by TRUUD

In the press

Cost/benefit analysis of incorporating health

HAUS tool to support cost/benefit analysis

  • A cost analysis database developed by the TRUUD team (link), incorporating evidence of the links between the urban environment and health as much as possible for the contemporary UK context.
  • The tool allows user – e.g. planners, developers, housebuilders – to quantify the links between the urban environment and health as much as possible for the contemporary UK context.

Evidence supporting cost/benefit analysis of incorporating health

  • Placemaking and value, RICS professional guidance, UK. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, February 2016. ‘By analysing five case studies, this paper aims to understand the relationship between the various design features and delivery mechanisms of a large residential scheme, and the end-sales achieved. It distils which physical attributes, as well as which delivery approaches, can create a positive sense of place in a new residential development and how this can trigger higher values. It also looks at the value created upon release as a static comparison with other new build schemes in each of the locations, as well as trends in values over time.’ . Placemaking and Value (

Challenges of green gentrification and health

  • Collection of research exploring how green initiatives can result in gentrification of neighbourhoods, and how this can impact health, well-being, and health pathways (e.g., physical activity, affordable housing). Green Gentrification and Health: A Scoping Review.
  • ‘Urban greening certainly provides economic, ecological, health, and social benefits to many, it may create new and deeper vulnerabilities and processes of green gentrification for historically marginalized residents – working-class groups, minorities, and immigrants – even in the many cases where interventions are meant to redress historic inequalities in the provision of parks or green spaces.’ (In)Justice in Urban Greening and Green Gentrification.

Guidance from organisations on integrating health

Guidance from developers and consultancies on how they have integrated health into projects

Guidance on how to create healthy urban environments

  • ‘Active Design sets out how the design of our environments can help people to lead more physically active and healthy lives’ Active Design. Sport England, 2015. Active Design | Sport England
  • ‘…a practical resource for practitioners to use when working together to enable the creation of healthy-weight environments through the English planning system. This resource draws on current evidence and practical experience, and will help practitioners to identify common ground for ongoing collaboration on this agenda.’ Planning Healthy Weight Environments. Town and Country Planning Association, 2014Planning Healthy-weight environments – Town and Country Planning Association (
  • Learning from the ‘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. Healthy New Towns.

Examples of plans incorporating health from developers and consultants

Networks and support

Existing membership groups and networks that can provide support integrating health into urban planning and development projects

If you would like support on how to integrate health into projects- you can complete the TRUUD contact form below and a member of the team will respond to your query.

Contact form- with drop down options of what they would like help with. Dan could you help with suggestions of what these might be?

Examples of pilot projects that aim to improve health in the urban environment

  • Stockholm congestion charges: ‘In August 2007, Stockholm introduced a congestion charge for cars crossing the city’s inner boundary, aimed at reducing traffic flows into central city areas. The decision followed a seven-month trial taking place from January through July 2006 and a public referendum that followed just seven weeks later, coincident with both national and city elections. Although a polling organization had found only 43 percent support among the city’s voters just prior to the pilot, seeing congestion charging work in real time during the trial period changed public views, producing a 53 percent majority vote in favor of the charge. At the time, no other city had implemented a congestion tax based on the results of a referendum. From the moment of the trial and onward, public acceptance of congestion charging has continued to grow.Microsoft Word – The Stockholm charges summary for China Eliasson.docx ( StockholmBrief617.pdf (
  • Bristol transport planning through busy shopping area- demonstrating the importance of understanding the target users of the urban environment: ‘ Over ten years ago, retailers in the Austrian city of Graz were asked how they thought their customers travelled to the shop, and shoppers were then interviewed to determine the reality. The results were fascinating: retailers hugely overestimated the importance of the car, and underestimated how many of their customers walked, cycled and used public transport. Sustrans’ researchers have now replicated the Graz study on two neighbourhood shopping streets in Bristol. Once again, we found that retailers overestimate the importance of the car. We also found that they overestimate how far their customers travel and underestimate how many shops each customer visits. These findings have real significance for business planning – as well as land use and transport. It is traditional for retailers to pursue more car access and parking, and to resist measures to promote walking, cycling and public transport use – although pedestrian shopping areas tend to be commercially most successful. Our findings suggest that retail vitality would be best served by traffic restraint, public transport improvements, and a range of measures to improve the walking environment.’ Bristol shopping traffic pilot

Looking for more information?