This paper examines an exciting regional programme that sought to develop the capability and capacity of public health and planning professionals to engage in Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of new residential developments. Health Impact Assessment is a process by which positive and negative health impacts of planning proposals can be assessed, with a view to maximising health benefits and minimising ‘disbenefits’. As development of new housing is a key priority across the Region, the need to consider how to assess health impacts of such activities is crucially important. The programme brought together planning and public health professionals from across the South West in a series of workshops, to share and spread good practice and develop knowledge and skills. Led by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Cities and Urban Policy, and funded by the regional public health group, the programme also involved the development of web-based resources, including the establishment of an on-line Health Impact Assessment repository.
Paul Pilkington is a senior lecturer in public health. He contributes to teaching on public health across the university. His research interests focus on how changes to the environment can improve health, including those relating to injury prevention, tobacco control and spatial planning.
Marcus Grant is a senior research fellow. He specialises in collaborations and partnerships with local stakeholders. Over the past five years, Marcus has been working closely with public health and planning colleagues across the southwest.
Sarah Burgess is a senior lecturer in health and planning. Her research interests include implications of planning policy on health and the relationship between urban design and behaviour.