Health-Enhanced Land Use Planning Software Tool

Kim Perrotta | Healthy Canada by Design CLASP | January 15, 2014

Toronto Public Health has released a report, A Health and Environment Enhanced Land Use Planning Tool – Highlights, which describes the development and pilot testing of a health-enhanced land use planning tool that was developed under the Healthy Canada by Design CLASP I Initiative with funding provided by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC).  Toronto Public Health (TPH) engaged Urban Design 4 Health Limited (UD4H) to create a land use planning tool that could be used to estimate health-related outcomes associated with various land use planning scenarios for the City of Toronto. 

Scenario testing software tools have been developed to estimate how different community design scenarios can impact a range of outcomes.  These planning tools have grown in use as computing power and geographical information systems (GIS) have developed.  The goal of Toronto’s project was to enhance one of these tools to include indicators associated with health outcomes (i.e. indicators of levels of physical activity which are linked to a wide spectrum of chronic diseases).

Using Toronto data, statistical relationships between built environment variables such as housing density, distance to transit stops, length of cycling facilities, and intersection density, and health-related indicators such as levels of physical activity and travel choices, were derived.  [...]