Health integrated planning: Impediments and opportunities
Barton, H. and Carmichael, L. (2011) Health integrated planning: Impediments and opportunities. In: World Planning Schools Congress, Perth, Australia, 4th - 8th July, 2011. [Unpublished]
Publisher's URL: http://www.wpsc2011.com.au/
This article examines the degree to which health is incorporated in planning systems through plan preparation and appraisal. It identifies the key barriers to health-integration, examples of good practice, and opportunities for improvement. It is based on a major research project in 2009-10 for the UK’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), involving a systematic review of international journal articles together with case studies, mainly in Britain. The systematic review searched for hard evidence of the efficacy of different planning systems, with a focus on the impacts on healthy physical activity and mental wellbeing. Most of the evidence available was from developed countries. The case studies highlighted the sheer range of performance in relation to health even within one planning system. The findings were salutary. Best practice in the UK and other developed countries depended not so much on the planning system per se, as on the leadership, commitment and knowledge of politicians and practitioners involved. The barriers to health integration were organizational and professional silos, ignorance, resources, and reactive (rather than pro-active) planning regimes. There are clear lessons for research, practice and education: there is a dearth of well attested research evidence, for example in relation to sustainability appraisal and health; planning agencies need to forge good partnerships with public health, transport, housing and economic development decision- makers, and develop proactive, healthy plans, using land purchase powers to guide the market; in planning education the priority is health integration, joint public health/planning courses, joint study tours for mid-career professionals. The article will highlight good practice in all these.
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