Planning for Health Equity

Explore our new long-range planning guide

The neighborhoods where people live, work, learn, and play profoundly affect their health. Our new guide, Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity: A Primer for Local Governments, poses a series of questions in order to provoke thoughts on how city and community planning can advance health and equity.

City and regional planning plays a critical role in determining how healthy or unhealthy communities are. Unfortunately, many planning decisions in the past promoted systems, environments, and behaviors that have contributed to significant health and wealth disparities between different groups of people. Undoing the harms caused by past planning policies and choices requires creating plans in which health and equity considerations are built in from the ground up.

Planning for health equity can transform communities in ways that will ensure healthier lives for all residents. Planners and decisionmakers can serve their communities by learning about how people's differing experiences of the places where they live affect their opportunities to live a healthy, prosperous life. We must confront deep structural drivers of inequity — like discrimination, poverty, lack of economic and educational opportunity, uneven political power, and governance that limits participation — to ensure that no one is disadvantaged in achieving their full health potential.

The Primer is for planners, local leaders, advocates, researchers, and consultants who want to use long-range planning to advance health and equity in their communities. You can read and download Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity: A Primer for Local Governments free of charge on our website.

This primer is invaluable in that it reflects real-world experience in how to get this work done. As a planner, I appreciate that you have clearly connected the dots between interdisciplinary themes, causes, and strategies for health and equity in planning. The primer is well-written, informative, and inspirational. Thank you for such an invaluable tool. . . . Well done! 

 Gretchen Armijo, AICP, LEED AP, senior associate at Norris Design and former planner at City of Denver