On Friday 5 June 2015 Belfast Healthy Cities hosted a seminar for public health professionals, ‘Beyond buildings: How spatial planning shapes health’ at The MAC, Belfast. The event was the first of a series of seminars ‘Beyond Bricks and Mortar: How Spatial Planning Can Improve Public Health’ intended to develop capacity in the sector.
Community planning is creating a new framework for public services across Northern Ireland. For the first time, there is now also a requirement for public service provision to align with physical development; community plans are in law required to link to the land use plan for the area, known as the Local Development Plan. This opens up important new possibilities for creating environments that support health and wellbeing, using existing evidence and piloting new approaches.
The seminar introduced the public health impacts of planning, including the shared historical origins of public health and planning; sharing key evidence of how the built environment can support health and contribute to tackling inequalities. It also provided an opportunity to explore the concrete local health issues and how they link to spatial planning.
Further events ‘Beyond lifestyle: How spatial planning can encourage physical activity.’, and ‘Beyond evidence: How Health Impact Analysis can inform decision-making’ will take place later in June and in September respectively.
Dr Gerry Waldron Public Health Agency
Justine Daly, Turley
Dermot O'Kane Belfast City Council