Planning institute puts green space at heart of "more integrated strategies" for healthy place-making

President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), Cath Ranson, has called for more integrated strategies for healthy place-making - including providing green spaces and enabling cooler environments - at the launch of a policy document tackling the subject of the role of planning in creating healthy cities.

Said Ranson: "As our ways of living are becoming more complex, we need to develop more integrated strategies for healthy place-making. That may involve providing space for walkers and cyclists, provision of play spaces and green spaces, access to healthy food, or enabling cooler environments for people where temperatures may rise.

"Health and wellbeing need to be at the core of how we design and develop cities."

The report, Promoting Healthy Cities, highlights the role planners have in what she called "the battle against 'lifestyle diseases'".

The rise of health challenges such as non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes and mental health could cost £28 trillion globally, over the next 20 years according to the World Economic Forum (2011).

The report which was launched at the RTPI Scotland Annual Conference, calls for UK nations to:

  • Develop more integrated strategies for healthy placemaking; this may require revisions to the way in which decisions on the location of health provision are planned
  • Gather greater intelligence on the social and economic determinants of health in order to guide decisions and investments of planners and policy- and decision-makers in their areas
  • Reform and strengthen institutions to ensure integration of health policies
  • Involve professions and communities as poor health outcomes also arise from many communities' lack of power and control over their environments.

Ranson said: "This report makes the link showing how the built environment, infrastructure and where we live, work and spend leisure time, can have an enormous effect on our health and wellbeing."

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