Planning for healthy communities: UWE launches new national seminar series

Issue date: 17 February 2015


Planning and health experts have a new national forum to help them ensure health, wellbeing and equity are at the heart of city and neighbourhood planning decisions.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and led by UWE Bristol's Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environment in partnership with Public Health England and other academic partners. It will be launched on 23 February 2015 in London and consists of a series of eight seminars to be held across England over the next two years.

Lead researcher Dr Laurence Carmichael said, “There is more and more evidence that the provision of community centres, good public transport, recreational centres, affordable housing or grocery stores are important for mental well-being. Research is also concerned by the interaction between diet, physical activity, and the built environment and how it may influence obesity. More crucially, certain groups are disproportionately affected by characteristics of the urban environment, including poorer people and ethnic minorities. This evidence needs to inform future urban policies.

“Hence the seminar series, which responds to the need to establish an on-going dialogue between researchers, practitioners and policy-makers in planning and public health, and to reunite the two disciplines. The first seminar will be a workshop aimed at identifying the most appropriate evidence to use for planning and public health decisions. We are delighted that this first seminar is oversubscribed with both academics and practitioners keen to take part in the debate, share good practice and develop cross-sector collaborations in the field.”

The seminar series will explore three interlinked themes:

· Public health evidence for spatial planning: who should supply health evidence to planners and what should be the coverage, scale and presentation of public health evidence to meet the needs of spatial planning?

· The governance of health and planning: what are the key features of governance and policies to ensure the reuniting of health and planning priorities?

· The development of a shared knowledge base: what type of training should be made available to future generations of healthy planners and communities, and who should deliver it?

Other academic partners include the Universities of Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool and the School for Public Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

For further information on this series see the project website.

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