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Community Design - Health Equity

Communities that are designed to provide safe and equitable access to meet every day needs can have an overall positive health impact on those who may be economically or physically disadvantaged due to socially produced inequities.1 2 3

 

Healthy community design takes into consideration the determinants of health of all people including:

  • indigenous peoples
  • age-related groups (children, youth, seniors)
  • ethno-racial communities
  • linguistic communities
  • lower income and homeless populations
  • people with physical and mental health challenges
  • religious / faith communities
  • rural / remote or inner-urban populations
  • sex / gender / sexual orientation
 
Health Equity
 

Healthy community design can reduce health inequities by supporting:

In Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) provides standards for barrier-free and inclusive design of public spaces.4 5 6 7 The Transportation Standards and the Design of Public Spaces Standards provide requirements to improve access for individuals with disabilities.

Additionally, healthy community design provides alternative transportation options for those who can’t afford an automobile or because of their age or ability are not able to drive.8 Active transportation is supported by having places where people want to travel located close to each other such as:

  • schools
  • employment
  • commercial services
  • retailers
  • food sources
  • recreation facilities
  • health and social services
  • high quality public spaces (natural and built)

Community design that considers equitable access can help improve physical, mental, social and economic well-being for individuals who may be economically or physically disadvantaged.

 
Date of creation: November 25, 2016
Last modified on: March 17, 2017

References

1World Health Organization. (2010). Hidden cities: Unmasking and overcoming health inequities in urban settings. Retrieved from
http://www.who.int/kobe_centre/publications/hidden_cities2010/en
2World Health Organization. (2016). Global Report on Urban Health. Retrieved from
http://www.who.int/kobe_centre/measuring/urban-global-report/en
3Urban Land Institute. (2013). Ten Principles for Building Healthy Places. Retrieved from
http://uli.org/wp-content/uploads/ULI-Documents/10-Principles-for-Building-Healthy-Places.pdf
4Government of Ontario. (2005). Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c. 11. Retrieved from
https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/05a11
5Government of Ontario. (2017). Accessibility Laws. Retrieved from
https://www.ontario.ca/page/about-accessibility-laws
6Accessibility Ontario. (n.d.). About the AODA. Retrieved from
https://accessontario.com/aoda
7Parks and Recreation Ontario. (2014). Pathways to Recreation: Learning about Ontario’s Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces. Retrieved from
http://www.prontario.org/index.php/ci_id/9179.htm
8Toronto Public Health. (2012). The Walkable City: Neighbourhood Design and Preferences, Travel Choices and Health. Retrieved from
https://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/toronto_public_health/healthy_public_policy/hphe/files/pdf/walkable_city.pdf