Planning sets the context of our everyday lives; it determines our living environments, how we get to work, how easy it is for us to access jobs and services, enjoy green space or be physically active. Therefore, it also shapes our health, and the wellbeing as individuals and as a community.
Planning and local government reform offers an important opportunity to consider health in a new way within planning. The benefits to be reaped are significant: more attractive places; safer, more cohesive and resilient communities; effective transport systems and of course, healthier people. Ultimately, this can also enhance economic prosperity, through creating new economic opportunities and reducing demand on public services.
This resource is intended to support the development of new approaches to integrating health with planning. It includes examples of good practice from elsewhere, while also providing initial directions for action. It has been developed in partnership with Town and Country Planning Association, who have undertaken similar work with local authorities in England and achieved considerable success in influencing thinking in these areas.
I believe that including a focus on health within planning is an important opportunity to develop our communities and our city as a healthy, sustainable and prosperous place. This resource offers a strong starting point and support tool for developing a locally appropriate approach, and I look forward to seeing this area of work develop further.
Councillor Nichola Mallon
Lord Mayor of Belfast