4 March 2014
Healthy town planning guideline now online
An online tool to help planners create cities and towns which allow and encourage West Australians to get more daily physical activity, thus improving health and well-being, is now available.
The innovative WA-specific Healthy Active by Design Guideline was launched today at the Perth Cultural Centre.
More than 150 planners, urban designers and related professionals were introduced to this free tool.
The resource will also provide valuable information for health, community development and sport and recreation groups.
The Guideline was produced by the Heart Foundation, working with Government Departments (Planning, Health, Transport, and Sport and Recreation) as well as the Planning Institute of Australia, Landcorp, and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.
It includes practical guidance on nine key design features, checklists, local case-studies, inspiring high quality examples of projects from around the world, and links to evidence.
“Globally, there is strong evidence on the link between health and the places where we live,” Heart Foundation Director of Cardiovascular Health Trevor Shilton said. “With overweight and obesity on the rise, it’s essential we provide environments that prevent and reduce the effects of these and other conditions which lead to chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.”
Good design allowed, for example:
• families to picnic and play with their children in parks close to their home; adults and children to jog along a river or through a park;
• parents to feel comfortable letting the kids walk and cycle safely to school;
• teenagers and adults to cycle or walk safely and conveniently to work, and combine this with public transport;
• residents to stroll to the local shops to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables;
• people to drop around to a friend’s place via quick and easy local public transport; and
• people to use the stairs instead of lifts and escalators.
“In this environment, the community is likely to be more physically active, socially connected, happier and healthier,” Mr Shilton said. “The Heart Foundation works in partnership with a wide range of industry, government, non-government and academic partners to achieve positive change, and this Guideline is one example.”
Dr Rodney Tolley, the Conference Director of Walk21, a not-for-profit organisation which raises international awareness of walking issues, gave a presentation at the launch, followed by a tour of the Perth Cultural Centre, one of the case studies in the Guideline.
Dr Tolley said Perth had some great lifestyle benefits, but sectors needed to work together to make improvements.
“While Perth has a wonderful climate, good facilities and iconic open spaces such as the beaches, the river and Kings Park, its sprawl makes it challenging to get around other than by car. This has led to congestion, and the only long-term solutions are to invest in public transport, walking and cycling.”
The guideline was developed with input from potential users, with the aim of creating a practical and successful tool.
A number of technical experts have also assisted the Heart Foundation and Project Management Group, including HASSELL, which developed the online tool with UWA’s Centre for Built Environment and Health, Aurecon and Bouncing Orange.
HASSELL project principal Chris Melsom said the free online tool would give developers and urban planners consistent and reliable guidelines to help them create healthier suburbs and cities.
“A lot of what makes a suburb healthy is common sense but it can be easily overlooked or dismissed as a secondary consideration,” Mr Melsom said.
“However, even something as simple as ensuring there is a well-paved footpath outside homes and to the local shops has been shown to make a difference to how much people get out of their cars and walk and therefore to rates of obesity and heart disease,” he said.
“Smart healthy design doesn’t have to be complicated or costly, but it does make a difference to community health, value and happiness.”
The Heart Foundation invites government departments, private industry and the community to support active living and take an active role in the implementation of this Healthy Active by Design project.www.healthyactivebydesign.com.au– ends –
Media contact: Sandy Oliver
, Heart Foundation Manager Media and Communications, (08) 9382 5947