What policies exist in Canada that are aimed at promoting health equity through the built environment? What are some strategies that have been used to advocate for policy change? Is healthy community design that promotes more active neighbourhoods cost-effective? What are the most compelling arguments for building healthy places?
These are just some of the questions answered in the newest addition to ParticipatoryPlanning.ca. On July 24th, a new Healthy Places Policy Toolkit was launched to support communities to influence policy at the intersection of the built environment, participatory planning and health equity.
ParticipatoryPlanning.ca is the website for the Active Neighbourhoods Canada (ANC) partnership. ANC has a vision of enabling access to healthy built environments for all Canadian communities. ParticipatoryPlanning.ca launched in February 2018 and is a hub for the co-design movement in Canada. When it launched, the site included a co-design activities toolkit filled with resources to support residents and professionals carry out participatory planning projects in their communities. In its first year, over 14,000 visitors from 1,050 different locations worldwide accessed the co-design toolkit.
The recently launched policy toolkit is a bilingual, online gallery of resources that will help communities advocate for policies which enable healthy built environments. To create this toolkit, the team drew on research, knowledge, community feedback and the strategic work of partner organizations to consolidate resources from Canadian communities. Included in the new toolkit is a policy map, policy resources, design resources, supporting research and a timeline of healthy places policy in Canada.
The policy map shares inspiring policies from across Canada focused on urban form, active transportation, road safety and participatory planning. The policy resources provide tips on the policy change process and how to engage in policy advocacy. The design resources demonstrate that building healthy places is not just possible, but attractive and cost-effective. The supporting research provides concrete benefits of healthy community design and participatory planning. The policy timeline, Healthy Places in the Making, illustrates that people have been working to create healthier cities for millennia.
Our hope is that these resources will inspire residents, community groups, and professionals across Canada to create and advocate for policies that promote healthy built environments and participatory planning.