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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is that Belfast is recognised globally
as a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Reuniting Planning and Health Capacity Building

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Reuniting Planning and Health Capacity Building: Outlining Linkages between Health and Built Environment


This project aims to strengthen awareness and understanding among stakeholders of the links between land use planning, built environment policy and health and wellbeing. It is intended to create a starting point from which shared understanding of concepts and issues can be developed.

In concrete terms, the project will produce an online resource introducing the links between planning, the built environment and health; setting out a rationale for collaboration across the health and built environment sectors, and outlining examples of existing collaboration across sectors, from Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK. The project is designed as a first step of longer term capacity building, and is intended to provide an easily accessible introduction to the relevant issues for professionals across sectors. Focus will be on principles and concepts rather than structures, in order to reflect planning and local government reform.

Rationale and Background

Collaboration between land use planners, transport professionals, housing planners and health professionals offers opportunities to maximise benefits for people, the environment and also the economy. The ongoing planning and local government reform is a concrete opportunity to begin considering new approaches and ways of working. Developing a shared understanding of the relevant issues across sectors is a key first step to realising these benefits. The overall project aim is to begin building cross-sectoral understanding of the linkages between land use planning and health, and explore collaboration mechanisms and relationships that future work can build on and link to.

This project forms part of the Regeneration and Healthy Urban Environments programme, which Belfast Healthy Cities leads on behalf of Belfast as a WHO European Healthy City and Belfast Strategic Partnership in relation to the regeneration priority theme. It builds on previous work led by Belfast Healthy Cities on capacity building and sharing evidence on the links between health and the built environment.


The project has been commissioned from TCPA and will be produced in winter-spring 2014. In addition to the Regeneration and Healthy Urban Environments group, stakeholders will be engaged throughout the process to ensure that the resource is relevant to local agendas and the needs of key agencies.

The resource will be tailored to a Northern Ireland context, although it is expected examples and case studies from elsewhere will be incorporated to demonstrate principles and potential opportunities.