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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is to be a leader in creating
a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Healthy Places Events and Training

Healthy Places, Healthy People seminar series

The Healthy Places, Healthy People seminar series in November 2016 focused on supporting community level professionals to engage effectively with the Local Development Plan process. It included five half day seminars on the following themes:

  • People friendly neighbourhoods
  • Transport
  • Green space
  • Mental well-being
  • Child friendly places

Reuniting Planning and Health

This high level conference highlighted leading edge practice on creating people friendly environments globally and in Northern Ireland. The keynote speaker was Riccardo Marini from Gehl Architects.

Capacity Building 2017

Our Capacity building programmes for 2017 will continue to focus on building capacity to engage with the Local Development Plan process. Details of the programme will be published shortly and you can sign up to the Belfast Healthy Cities information services to receive updates.


We are also focusing on creating walkable environments, as a starting point for new healthy places across Belfast. We have developed a walkability assessment tool focused particularly on older people’s needs as part of the Age Friendly Belfast initiative. The tool is currently being piloted with people and communities of all ages as part of the Public Health Agency’s Community Active Travel project with Sustrans.


Where we live, and the conditions in which we live, has a significant impact on our health and well-being. Access to high quality housing in safe neighbourhoods, green spaces, strong communities and good transport systems all contribute to positive health and well-being. In an urban environment, spatial planning and good urban design can help improve health outcomes in significant ways, including:

  • reducing exposure to hazards through controlling traffic, pollution and noise;
  • supporting mental and emotional well-being by creating liveable environments that encourage social contact and cohesion
  • improving access to jobs, education and services by promoting mixed use neighbourhoods
  • encouraging physical activity by strengthening connectivity on foot and bike and safeguarding green space

1. Healthy urban environments can also help tackle place inequalities in health

2. Overall, there is a link between the built environment, health inequalities and health outcomes. The rise in diseases associated with inactive lifestyles, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity and respiratory problems are strongly linked to where and how we live. Differential access to good housing, employment, education and training, open space and affordable, nutritious food is a key element of health inequalities between areas and population groups. People from the most disadvantaged groups are more likely to be subject to an ‘obesogenic’ environment which discourages walking and cycling, perceiving their neighbourhoods to be busier with traffic, less attractive, and less supportive of walking.

3. They also often disproportionately bear the impacts of car-dominated urban planning practice.