Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Tool Connects Public Health and Urban Planning

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has launched the Healthy Development Measurement Tool (HDMT), a comprehensive evaluation tool that considers health needs and the equity of available health resources in urban development plans and projects.

Developed by the Eastern Neighborhoods Community Health Impact Assessment (ENCHIA) process, convened by SFDPH and involving 20 different San Francisco organizations and public agencies spanning multiple disciplines, the HDMT is comprised of three core components: 1) a “community health indicator system” to evaluate community health objectives and baseline neighborhood conditions, 2) a “healthy development checklist” that is used to evaluate land use plans and projects, and 3) a “menu of policy and design strategies” that can be used to make recommendations on how to improve baseline conditions and/or meet checklist targets. The tool is organized by six broad elements of a healthy city and 27 community health objectives for greater, more equitable health assets for San Francisco residents.

The HDMT explicitly connects public health to urban development planning in efforts to achieve a higher quality social and physical environment that advances health. HDMT objectives and indicators explicitly call out the need for development that serves existing and new residents and workers. Data are disaggregated by neighborhood and are illustrated spatially in an effort to highlight disparities.

SFDPH now provides guidance to other agencies and organizations that want to use the HDM, as well as advises on the use of community health indicator data and maps in neighborhood assessments. In addition, SFDPH conducts education and training on the tool and how social, environmental and economic conditions affect community health.

For more on the intersection of health, urban planning, and equity, see PolicyForResults’ strategies to prevent childhood obesity.

1 comment:

  1. If this would occur soon then all of the efforts to achieve a higher quality social and physical environment that advances health can be easily achieve. Therefore this must be started as soon as possible.