Using healthy community design data to monitor and inform planning and public policy

Abstract

Setting

In Ontario, Public Health is mandated to work with municipal partners to inform and collaborate on built environment initiatives. For the Healthy Community Design (HCD) Baseline project, Public Health partnered with three communities (approximately 132,000, 29,000 and 22,000 residents, respectively).

Intervention

The HCD Baseline Project created a baseline of HCD indicators containing spatial data and self-reported behaviour and perception data. Tailored indicators were determined collaboratively between Public Health and municipal planning staff. Physical HCD indicator data were collected and mapped spatially, while primary data collected from a Neighbourhood Design Survey provided residents’ perceptions of HCD and reported behaviour.

Outcomes

The HCD Baseline Project produced a data monitoring system to: track progress of HCD indicators as communities grow; measure current community design to identify municipal and public health priorities, including public policy and supportive environments; and assess the impact of future HCD interventions on the community. By compiling spatial and perception data, areas of strength and opportunity guided the collaborative development of tailored recommendations for each community.

Implications

Findings from the HCD Baseline Project have created a stronger position for Public Health to support local municipalities. Recommendations are guiding collaborative, evidence-informed initiatives and informing local land use planning and related supportive environment policy. Data collection will be repeated in 5, 10 and 15 years to monitor trends and impact on community design.

Résumé

Lieu

En Ontario, la Santé publique est tenue de travailler avec des partenaires municipaux afin d’éclairer et de collaborer à des initiatives sur le cadre bâti. Pour un projet de référence sur l’aménagement communautaire favorisant la santé (ACFS) (Healthy Community Design, HCD), la Santé publique a travaillé en partenariat avec trois municipalités (d’environ 132 000, 29 000 et 22 000 résidents, respectivement).

Intervention

L’équipe du projet a créé une base de référence d’indicateurs d’ACFS contenant des données spatiales et des données comportementales et perceptuelles autodéclarées. Des indicateurs adaptés ont été définis de façon concertée par la Santé publique et les employés municipaux chargés de la planification. Les données sur les indicateurs physiques d’ACFS ont été collectées et cartographiées spatialement, et les données primaires, collectées au moyen d’un sondage sur l’aménagement des quartiers, ont permis de connaître les perceptions des résidents à l’égard de l’ACFS et leurs comportements autodéclarés.

Résultats

Le projet de référence sur l’ACFS a produit un système de contrôle des données visant à : suivre l’évolution des indicateurs d’ACFS à mesure que les municipalités se développent; mesurer l’aménagement communautaire actuel pour cerner les priorités des municipalités et de la Santé publique, notamment sur les politiques publiques et les milieux favorables; et évaluer l’impact local de futures interventions d’ACFS. Les forces et les possibilités révélées en compilant les données spatiales et perceptuelles ont orienté l’élaboration concertée de recommandations adaptées à chaque municipalité.

Conséquences

Les constatations du projet de référence sur l’ACFS ont créé de meilleures conditions pour que la Santé publique puisse aider les municipalités locales. Les recommandations du projet orientent des initiatives concertées, éclairées par les données probantes, et viennent appuyer les politiques locales d’aménagement du territoire et de création de milieux favorables. La collecte de données sera répétée dans cinq, dix et quinze ans pour surveiller les tendances et l’impact sur l’aménagement communautaire.

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Fig. 1

Data availability

Available upon request to primary author.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank staff members involved in this collaboration from the City of Guelph, the Town of Orangeville, the Township of Centre Wellington and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

Code availability

Not applicable.

Funding

This work was funded by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by Brianne Petrina, Bo Cheyne and Amanda Scales. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Brianne Petrina with support from Amy Estill and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brianne Petrina.

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Provided by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s Research Ethics Committee on September 11, 2017. Consent to participate was provided by all study participants via the informed consent process.

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Consent to publication was provided by all study participants via the informed consent process.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Petrina, B., Cheyne, B., Scales, A. et al. Using healthy community design data to monitor and inform planning and public policy. Can J Public Health (2021). https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-021-00523-6

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Keywords

  • Built environment
  • Public health
  • Public policy
  • Evidence-based practice

Mots-clés

  • Cadre bâti
  • santé publique
  • politique publique
  • pratique factuelle