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Healthy planning and regeneration innovations

Planning and regeneration can help create health promoting environments that are good for people and the environment. Over the last year I’ve been working with Southwark Council on an ambitious project to raise the profile of health and wellbeing in the Council’s planning activities, particularly for the regeneration of Old Kent Road.

Initially, BRE was commissioned to complete a literature review which identified best practice examples of planning and regeneration projects for health and wellbeing objectives. The Council were particularly interested in how researchers and other planners were engaging with local communities about health and place. We’ve created a summary version of the review to share the findings with planning and public health practitioners.

The report includes:

  • a summary of (evidence-based) health impacts from urban environments (focused on healthy eating, physical activity, social interaction and access to health services)
  • a quick reference guide to built environment health impacts and related planning policy responses
  • overview of the health impacts of regeneration projects
  • examples of innovative ways to involve communities in healthy planning
  • the role of urban health indicators in monitoring policy impact
  • further guidance.

This literature review was the first step in the Council’s healthy planning project, jointly run with Lambeth Council and funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. The Council then commissioned Ipsos Mori to run a large survey of residents in and near Old Kent Road (and Oval and Kennington for Lambeth) and a number of focus groups. This social research resulted in location-specific information about residents’ perceptions of health and place.

I’ve just finished a part-time secondment (funded by the BRE Trust) to help Southwark’s planning department integrate the findings of this research into their planning and regeneration activities for Old Kent Road. The work is being co-driven by Southwark’s public health department and supported by others (transport, adult social services, etc.).

The Director of Planning in Southwark, Simon Bevan, will be reporting the findings and progress of this work at the Healthy City Design International conference in London, October 2017.

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