The link between people's health and urban planning is a whole lot more than where we put our hospitals.
The Australian Local Government Association, the Heart Foundation and the Planning Institute of Australia are collaborating in 'Healthy Spaces and Places" to expand the relationship between people’s health and the built environment towards a national planning guide. The Draft for Discussion (online) shows some interesting trends and case studies.
Our daily choices including how we travel, the foods we eat and what we do in our spare time are all decisions that affect our health and wellbeing. Of course the built environment is only one component that influences these decisions - but I guess I wouldn't be an urban planner without believing it can be a really powerful influence. The design of our neighbourhoods and cities can be significantly barriers or support to these decisions. Some key urban form characteristics that tend to be associated with healthy outcomes, include:
• mixed land use and urban/housing density
• good provision of walking and cycling facilities (footpaths and cycle ways)
• facilities for physical activity (e.g. swimming pools, open space)
• street connectivity and design
• transport infrastructure and systems
The link between health and sustainable cities is already recognised by QLD Health (read general information docs)