This article provides details of the goals and accomplishments of the Land Use and Health Resource Team composed of public health officials, planners, researchers, extension agents, advocacy organizations, and the development community. The team seeks to understand local land use and health relationships, increase community engagement, and facilitate positive change in policies and the built environment. The team's action plan is (1) research local land use and health relationships; (2) undertake public education and community mobilization; (3) identify interventions, seek funding, and pilot tools to integrate health and planning; and (4) monitor outcomes. In 2005, the team produced a report presenting a picture of local conditions related to health and the built environment. Findings were unveiled at a stakeholder conference, and local best practices and future actions were discussed. A geographic information system–based health impacts tool for use by planners in site plan review was developed. Funding was obtained to facilitate neighborhood organizations to complete self-assessments and develop interventions related to community environments, physical activity, and healthy eating. The team achieved initial goals of creating partnerships and spurring awareness. Future activities include wider field testing of the health impacts tool, participation in a health-oriented master planning process, and monitoring change in health risk behaviors related to changes in the built environment.
• This article discusses a collaborative relationship for land use and health issues in a tri-county area of mid-Michigan, its priority actions, and outcomes of the collaboration to date. Lessons learned working across disciplinary and agency boundaries along with areas for future action for the team have also been identified.
Ellen M. Bassett, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. Until 2007, she taught urban planning at Michigan State University and was an active member of the Capital Area Land Use and Health Resource Team.
Robert Paul Glandon, PhD, is Chair of the National Association of County and City Health Officials Land Use Planning and Community Design Group, and is a consultant, with particular interest in monitoring health outcomes.
Corresponding Author: Ellen M. Bassett, PhD, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207.
The authors acknowledge the hard work, technical expertise, and patience of Bill Enslin of Michigan State University (MSU) in the development of the HIA tool. He assisted us greatly in thinking about health in a spatial context. Bill passed away last year and he is sorely missed. We also thank the MSU's Land Policy Institute for funding for tool development and extension outreach. Asante sana also to Michelle Reardon and Marcus Cheatham for data and mapping assistance. All work described was conducted when Dr Glandon was at the Ingham County Health Department in Lansing, Michigan.