When the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) conducted a survey of 800 of its members in 2010, it found that Planners are becoming increasingly committed to developing policies and regulations that are informed by evidence, including evidence from fields beyond Planning.
CIP members identified the need for: more research; more support translating research evidence into practice; more tools and frameworks to apply in the field; support about how to work with new partners such as public health professionals; and new policies that can be used accelerate the transition to evidence-based planning practices (CIP, 2012).
So, in 2010, when the CIP joined the Healthy Canada by Design CLASP Coalition, funded by Health Canada through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), it came prepared with an understanding of its members needs for the field of healthy communities. A CIP Healthy Communities Committee was established with a dual reporting mechanism to both CIP and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. This Committee developed an ambitious agenda for itself that included that creation of valuable resources for Planners and other professionals with an interest in healthy communities.
Through the CLASP Coalition, CIP contributed considerable “in kind” volunteer support and collaborated with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to produce the Healthy Communities Practice Guide. Released in March of 2012, this 70 page booklet includes:
- A framework expressing the principles underlying healthy communities;
- Background context on healthy communities with emerging evidence and trends for a number of topics;
- Methods for using existing planning tools;
- Opportunities for collaborating with other disciplines; and
- Practical examples of healthy community initiatives and contact coordinates for future reference from a variety of communities including the Cities of Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal, Kelowna, Victoria, Williams Lake, Edmonton, Peel Region, and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
This guide was supplemented by three Fact Sheets that were prepared by the Heart and Stroke Foundation in collaboration with the CIP, the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), with funding provided, once again, by the CPAC. These 12-page fact sheets summarize the Canadian evidence related to each of these three important topics:
- Active Transportation, Health and Community Design
- Active Living, Children & Youth
- Health Equity and Community Design
The CIP HCC also assisted the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Urban Public Health Network (UPHN), and the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (NCCEH) in the development of an On-Line Inventory of Built Environment Reports. This inventory includes 150 case studies, guidelines, tools and key scientific papers that are related to health and the built environment and the creation of healthy communities.
With the renewal of CPAC funding for the HCBD CLASP Coalition, the work of the CIP Healthy Communities Committee continues with another ambitious agenda directed at increasing awareness and support for healthy communities among Professional Planners and Planning students.
Author: Kim Perrotta, Knowledge Translation & Communications, HDBD CLASP
Reference: Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) Healthy Communities Committee (Hazel Christy, David Harrison, George McKibbon, Alice Miro and Olimpia Pantelimon) and Ann McKibbon PhD, McMaster University. “Our 21st Century Challenge: Healthier Communities”. Plan Canada. Spring 2012.