Healthy urban environments and placemaking

Place is an important determinant of health and wellbeing. This programme of work focuses on how different aspects of the urban environment shape health and health inequalities, as well as how participation in decision-making around places can be strengthened.  Past and present work includes:

  • Generating and synthesising evidence around the impact of the built environment on health and health inequalities
  • Working with partners to promote the inclusion of health and wellbeing principles in planning, housing and regeneration strategies and practice
  • Consultation responses  to plans and strategies on potential health and wellbeing impacts
  • Using Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to assess the potential health and wellbeing impacts of plans and strategies
  • Testing approaches and toolkits which enable meaningful participation in decision-making around regeneration and planning practice
  • Supporting communities and organisations to become more resilient in the face of climate change. 

Healthy Urban Planning

Healthy Urban Planning arose from the World Health Organisation (WHO) European Healthy Cities Project, a long-term international development initiative aiming to place health high on the agenda of decision-makers in city governments across Europe.

Effective planning practice can have a major impact on the lives of people within cities. The conditions in which people live and work, their access to facilities and services, their lifestyle and their ability to develop strong social networks are key health determinants that are influenced by the plans, policies and initiatives of urban planners and related professionals. Work undertaken has sought to strengthen the processes for building health considerations into ‘non-health’ policies and plans, to generate and synthesise evidence about the relationships between placemaking and health and to influence development decisions across a range of scales. The built environment and health: an evidence review provides a summary of the recent literature on the links between the built environment and health and wellbeing. 

Health Impact Assessment

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) provides a systematic approach for assessing the positive and negative health and wellbeing impacts of a policy, plan or initiative, including how sub-groups of the population may be differentially impacted. Examples of where HIA has been used to consider potential health impacts include the proposed City Development Plan, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the draft East End Development Strategy and Glasgow’s Local Housing Strategy 2011-2016. 

Community led-approaches to placemaking

There continues to be a need to increase community participation in decision-making around neighbourhood issues. GCPH have been involved in assessing the impacts and efficacy of a number of approaches which aim to strengthen participation in local decision-making, including Participatory Budgeting, Street Auditing and the community-led development of vacant and derelict land. The role of Participatory Budgeting (PB) was explored in Govanhill through the allocation of public funds to local people. A report on the effectiveness of the approach and the potential for it to be rolled out more widely found that it was in keeping with the principles of community empowerment and localism, and that those involved valued the experience.  In Calton, a street audit was carried out to determine local priorities for the physical improvement of the area. These priorities were met with funding for to deliver a series a number of small scale projects. An assessment of the effectiveness of the street audit was undertaken in 2013, and key lessons from the approach were summarised in a briefing paper.  Local participation and leadership around neighbourhood regeneration has been possible through the delivery of Glasgow City Council’s Stalled Spaces initiative. Local groups are invited to bid for funding to develop plots of vacant and derelict land on a temporary basis. Research was undertaken with Stalled Spaces participants to assess the individual and community impacts of this funding. 

Weathering change: being climate ready in north Glasgow

This action learning project is a collaborative venture with Glasgow City Council, Sniffer and greenspace scotland. The project aims to facilitate conversations and broker collaborations between communities and institutions in North Glasgow with a view to better understanding how to increase community resilience in the face of climate change. Through collaborative approaches it is expected that joint actions will be brought forward to help build resilience to climate change.

Following early scoping and project design, work will now be undertaken to engage with local individuals, organisations and institutions involved in regeneration activity within north Glasgow. GCPH will be capturing learning from the project through a variety of methods and approaches, seeking to answer a number of research questions around the impacts of involvement in the project and the facilitators and barriers to working between organisations and communities. It is hoped that learning from this project can be used to shape local, city-wide and national policy around how to promote community-led approaches to climate change.