It is often that I am approached by many of my friends and family about the origins of planning, and especially what ‘planning’ means.
I thought about this, and although planning has progressed over time, it is clear that now-days we strive to create ‘healthy spaces’ through architecture, urban design and landscaping. It is not common for those in the built environment to push for a healthy built environment, so what does ‘healthy planning’ mean?
The shift towards human health as a focus within urban planning has been integral in reminding us of the roots of town planning as a profession. Its re-emergence as a factor within urban planning today can be parallel to its origins for its ‘concerns for health and [the] well being of people’ (Kent, Thompson et al. pg 381).
These early definitions seeked to separate the dirty, polluting land uses from the recreational and living land uses. Within this grew two of the most important and central concepts of town planning: zoning and residential land use. Zoning alone, became an important public health initiative in its separation of land and as cities grew, so did this separation between work and home.
The introduction of the automobile had significant affects on how town planning took form post WWII, with the majority of cities designed for the car as the main source of transportation. This dependency on the auto-mobile caused an increase in sedentary activities, a decrease in physical activity, and proved problematic to human health.
As a result, health professionals became more engaged to define a broader understanding of health, beyond the means of a medical model. In the 1970’s the World Health organization commissioned a public health reform, which became the underpinning model for the establishment of Health21. The 1992 Rio Earth Summit followed suit, aligning human health and environmental sustainability as important factors and produced Health21. WHO were able to concisely structure the ‘determinants of health’ as important indicators that contribute/detach from human health. These factors, along with broader environmental factors were conceptualised in a ‘settlement map’ by Barton, Grant and Guise as a guide for healthy planning.
Australia has followed in the inclusion of human health extending beyond medical means and into the built environment through government and non-government agencies (NGOs) making contributions towards national reviews and targeted health promotions. Planners have become an integral part of this analysis, giving recommendations towards the inquiries placed by these organizations. Therefore, it has become important to understand what healthy planning encompasses.
So what is Healthy planning? Healthy planning in Australia and in the Built environment?
This is a blog dedicated to town planning, urban design, architecture, environmental engineering, public space and the like.
Run by two UNSW graduating students in Urban Planning and Environmental Engineering with a keen interest in the built environment.