Healthy City Planning

Reconnecting the fields of urban planning and public health to promote healthier cities

Dates of Project: July 2008 to June 2013

In his book Toward the Healthy City, Jason Corburn, PhD, MCP, an associate professor at University of California, Berkeley, makes the case for “healthy city planning,” a decision-making framework that unites urban planning and public health in a common mission to overcome health disparities.

Key Results

  • Corburn’s book makes the point that urban governance practices can play a significant role in reducing health disparities by ridding neighborhoods of toxins and improving access to quality employment and education, affordable housing, healthy food, public transit options, and safe spaces for social interaction. It:

    • Describes how the fields of public health and urban planning evolved away from their social justice roots
    • Presents a framework for “healthy urban planning”
    • Explores healthy urban governance in action through case studies involving San Francisco’s Department of Public Health
    • Recommends changes in urban governance to address health disparities

“Health isn’t just health outcomes from exposure to toxins in the air, water, or soil—things that health departments are good at measuring. If you are going to take the environment of low-income neighborhoods seriously, you have to consider other dimensions of health.”—Jason Corburn